In Doug Brenner's case against Oregon, the NCAA, and Willie Taggart, opening statements and witness testimony begin

In Doug Brenner's case against Oregon, the NCAA, and Willie Taggart, opening statements and witness  ...

EUGENE During the second day of the civil trial in the case of former Oregon Ducks offensive lineman Doug Brenner, a former UO coach, and former UO strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde, the University of Oregon and the NCAA.

After four hours of proceedings in the Lane County Circuit Court, four lawyers addressed a range of issues related to Brenner's lawsuit, which is seeking $125.5 million in punitive damages, pain and suffering, and future medical expenses related to his hospitalization and rhabdomyolysis diagnosis in January 2017.

Lawyers addressed several topics: The NCAA's football acclimatization period and the degree of culpability it has for failing to administer winter conditioning workouts; the extent of long-term kidney damage Brenner suffered after his hospitalization; Brenner's level of responsibility for the injuries he suffered; and how or whether these injuries had a negative impact on his NFL potential.

The varying perspectives on the case, which has taken more than three years to reach Judge Clara Rigmaiden's courtroom, were heard by a 12-person jury and three alternates.

At the opening of his 93-minute opening statement, Greg Kafoury, one of the attorneys representing Brenner from Kafoury & McDougal, said: "You all understand the stakes."

Brenner's $125.5 million lawsuit seeks $100 million punitive damages from the NCAA, $20 million for pain and suffering, and $5.5 million for past and future medical expenses from Oregon, Taggart, and Oderinde. Wednesday.

The sides agree that trainings conducted at Oregon in January 2017, shortly after Taggart arrived at Oregon to take over as his strength and conditioning coach, were strenuous in nature and ultimately led Brenner and two other players Sam Poutasi and Cam McCormick with rhabdomyolysis, a syndrome that has resulted in a break in which muscles form and may spread into the blood stream.

"Mistakes were made," said Will F. Stute, one of the NCAA's lawyers from Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. "We believe some were."

Poutasi, who when he filed a lawsuit in January 2019, recently settled his claim in the case. McCormick, who is still a member of Oregon's football team, decided not to file a lawsuit.

Where the sides differ dramatically, the person who is responsible for the hospitalizations, how much responsibility is held on Brenner himself, the extent of his injuries, and whether or not it had any incidence on his professional football prospects.

The Attorney of Brad Brenner alleged that the NCAA did not enforce bylaws regulating strength and conditioning exercises, particularly at the start of known transitional periods on the football calendar.

In 2003, the NCAA extended a five-day acclimatization period for football practice, but this rule does not apply to winter conditioning exercises like this in the current case, which Kafoury described as "cruelty masquerading as assistance."

Kafoury said a nephrologist will provide evidence that Brenner has suffered acute kidney injury and will continue to suffer lasting effects from the incident, which he said adversely impacted Brenner's ability to compete in the NFL.

Both Stute and Stephen English of Perkins Coie, the group that represents Taggart, Oderinde, and UO in the case, disputed the severity of Brenner's injuries, claiming that he has made a successful recovery.

There is "no evidence of permanent damage to his kidneys from the rhabdo," according to English, who commended Brenner for his college career extensively.

Taggart was hired not only to take the Ducks on the field after a four-week season under Mark Helfrich in 2016, but also to take the team off the field. Six players faced disciplinary or legal problems the season before Taggart arrived.

Taggart's lawyer claimed that when he told Oregon's players during a team meeting on January 8, 2017, he was "going to find the snakes in the grass and cut their heads off," it applied to the team's discipline and accountability, not as a threat relating to workouts that would follow two days later.

According to English, Brenner "was requested to modify his workouts after the first day of UO associate athletic trainer Travis Halseth, but declined to do so. So, in the view of the defense, he has responsibility for his "serious but temporary" injuries.

In the opinion of an expert evaluation, Brenner stated that it was unnecessary to have surgery before his 2017 season, and that those injuries, combined with his abilities, made his chances of reaching the NFL virtually impossible.

Stute, who was aggravated during Kafoury's opening remarks, outlined some aspects of the NCAA's legislative process, which he concluded, was on the hands of its members schools. He said, the schools are directly responsible for athletes' health and safety.

Even if NCAA's guidelines on rhabdomyolysis were made into bylaws, Stute said, it would make "no difference" in the organization's ability to entitle college athletes to excessing themselves.

According to Stute, the NCAA's rule prohibiting strength and conditioning coaches "behaved and maintained current certification" through a nationally accredited strength and conditioning certification program.

The attorneys for Brenner and the NCAA discussed the otherwise broadness of what it means to be a "nationally accredited strength and conditioning certification." At the time, Oderinde was certified by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), which at the time surpassed the NCAA's threshold, despite requiring a 21-hour training course, compared to the 640 hours required by the widely-used Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCA).

As their first witness, Brenner's attorneys sounded Dr. Douglas Casa, the CEO of the Korey Stringer Institute.

During his more than 30 years of research and research on excessive injuries in sports, he revealed that 80% of deaths and catastrophic injuries were caused during five weeks of transition periods at the start of football trainings and practices. The same applies to the NFL.

Casa's testimony will be held on Thursday, when Jody Sykes, an Oregon senior associate athletic director and chief compliance officer, is expected to be called to the stand.

Former UO quarterback Marcus Mariota, who is with the Atlanta Falcons, will testify remotely during trial, which will last three weeks, according to Brenner's attorneys.

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