Saturday, November 1, 2008
Former UCF player discusses workout at which Plancher collapsed
ESPN.com news services
In an interview to air Sunday on ESPN's "Outside the Lines," a former University of Central Florida football player speaks publicly for the first time about the March 18, 2008, workout at which a teammate collapsed and died.
Former Central Florida running back James Jamison says during his interview with OTL that Ereck Plancher, a redshirt freshman wide receiver, struggled at the workout and that coaches have understated the difficulty of the drills.
Plancher was pronounced dead about one hour after the offseason conditioning session, led by coach George O'Leary, had finished.
Jamison said during the interview that he believes "they ran a player to death."
"Every step he [Plancher] took, he was about to fall over .. He was just, literally like everybody was looking at him ... pushing his body like past his limit ... " Jamison said.
"Coach is like, 'That's a bunch of BS, son,' like, 'I expect better from you,' just dogging him ... I'm thinking, 'Why you, why you getting on him? Everybody's tired. Like, look around you,' " Jamison said.
The full report will be aired at 9 a.m. Sunday on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" and on ESPN.com.
O'Leary has said in past reports that the workout was not taxing, and UCF insists coaches and trainers handled the situation properly.
However, ESPN's Mark Fainaru-Wada reports that according to Plancher's high school football coach, Plancher had found the training sessions difficult and passed out at one before.
According to a report Friday in the Orlando Sentinel, family members said Plancher had collapsed twice after workouts in the months before he died.
Plancher's parents have notified the school of their intent to sue Central Florida.
"In regards to the information that Ereck collapsed two times [before March 18], we were completely unaware of that. As far as we knew, those incidents didn't happen," Central Florida spokesman Grant Heston said, when contacted by ESPN.
"As soon as it was known that Ereck was in distress [at the March 18 workout], coaches and trainers reacted quickly. It's frustrating to us that the lawsuit limits what we can and can't say on these matters, but that's how it is," Heston said.
A request was made to speak to O'Leary about the OTL report, but the request has yet to be acted upon.
Information from ESPN reporter Mark Fainaru-Wada was used in this report.