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Cal faces wrongful death lawsuit

The family of Ted Agu, a Cal player who died after a training run with teammates in February, will file a wrongful death lawsuit against The Regents of the University of California.

A news conference will be held Tuesday at the Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland to announce the suit.

Agu, 21, was on a supervised run with teammates near Memorial Stadium on Feb. 7 and struggled to finish. According to Cal team physician Casey Batten, members of the training staff recognized that Agu was struggling, pulled him out of the run and transferred him by cart to the team's medical facility inside the stadium.

"He was on the back of the cart, he was talking, he was hydrating, he did not exhibit any labored breathing or other signs until he got to the north tunnel," Batten said in February.

Agu collapsed around 7 a.m. CPR was administered, and he was taken to Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

A release from the Agu family's lawyers, Panish Shea & Boyle, states, "Despite the symptoms which clearly could and should have been observed, UCB coaches and trainers failed to immediately come to Agu's assistance. It was only after Agu struggled and encountered obvious difficulties for a significant period of time that intervention occurred and he was placed on a cart and taken back towards the stadium, where he collapsed for the last time."

The release also states, "During the course of the conditioning drill, Agu experienced dizziness, shortness of breath, loss of balance, and other signs of extreme fatigue that were clearly symptomatic of the sickling process."

The Alameda County coroner ruled hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or a thickening of the heart muscle, as the official cause of death. CBSSports.com reported in February, citing an unnamed source, that Agu had the sickle cell trait. 

In response to news of the pending announcement, the Cal athletic department released a statement that read: "The members of our football family and our entire campus community remain deeply saddened with the loss of Ted Agu. We will continue to honor Ted in all we do. He will forever be a beloved member of our Golden Bear family.

"We have heard reports that a lawsuit may be filed this week against the university. Because we have not seen the lawsuit, we cannot speak to the specifics of this pending action and respectfully decline comment at this time."

A defensive end from Bakersfield, Agu would have been a fifth-year senior this fall. He started his career as a walk-on before earning a scholarship and was working toward a degree in public health.

Cal begins training camp Monday and opens its season Aug. 30 at Northwestern.