Not surprisingly, Willie Taggart and his former employer have yet another legal obstacle to navigate.
In January of 2017, three Oregon football players were hospitalized following a workout in the weeks after Taggart, now the head coach at Florida State, was hired as the Ducks’ head coach. It was reported earlier this week that one of those players, former Ducks offensive lineman Doug Brenner, is suing Taggart, the University of Oregon, UO’s former strength & conditioning as well as the NCAA for $11.5 million in connection to the situation.
According to the Daily Emerald, a second player, current Ducks offensive lineman Sam Poutasi, has sued the same defendants as named in the first suit for $5 million.
Poutasi and Brenner, along with tight end Cam McCormick, were ultimately diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which muscle cells break down and its byproducts are released into the bloodstream. According to Brenner’s lawsuit, his life span has been shortened by upwards of 10 years as a result of “severe injuries, some of which are permanent, permanent renal injury… increased susceptibility of kidney failure, kidney disease, and death, severe physical and emotional pain.”
Poutasi’s lawsuit cites “physical and emotional pain, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, and diminishment of avocational abilities.” That suit also mentions kidney damage as an aftereffect of the workout.
The strength & conditioning coach in charge of the workout that preceded the players’ hospitalization, Irele Oderinde, was suspended by the University of Oregon but reinstated a month later. Oderinde is now a member of Taggart’s support staff at Florida State and is currently listed as the football program’s head strength & conditioning coach.
Both Poutasi and McCormick are still listed on UO’s online roster. The former played in five games this past season, the latter in one.