Doug Brenner, pictured in a 2017 game against Oregon State, is suing the University of Oregon and the NCAA over extreme workouts that doctors say have shortened Brenner’s lifespan by as much as a decade. Brenner graduated from Jesuit High School in 2013. (University of Oregon Athletics)
Doug Brenner, pictured in a 2017 game against Oregon State, is suing the University of Oregon and the NCAA over extreme workouts that doctors say have shortened Brenner’s lifespan by as much as a decade. Brenner graduated from Jesuit High School in 2013. (University of Oregon Athletics)
A former Jesuit High School football star who went on to play at the University of Oregon is suing the college, the NCAA and two coaches. The $11.5 million suit claims that workouts were so punishing that they left irreversible damage, including a shortened life expectancy.

Former UO offensive lineman Doug Brenner, recalled by staff and fellow students at Jesuit as kind and hardworking, was hospitalized in January 2017. That came after four straight days of off-season training that resulted in rhabdomyolysis, the death of overworked muscle fibers that then pollute the bloodstream and cause kidney damage.

Named in the lawsuit are former UO football coach Willie Taggart and former strength coach Irele Oderinde.  

Brenner’s attorneys filed the 18-page suit Jan. 9 in Multnomah County Circuit Court. The arguments say UO was negligent when it failed to regulate the damaging regimen. The suit claims Taggart and Oderinde, both now coaching at Florida State, were negligent for requiring the workouts, which the NCAA should have banned or controlled.

Two other UO players ended up in the hospital with rhabdomyolysis.  

The Oregonian reported that the workouts included up to an hour straight of push-ups. If one player faltered, vomited or fainted, his teammates were punished with additional repetitions, one of Brenner’s attorneys told reporters.

UO later suspended Oderinde. The suit claims he should have known the consequences of the severe exercise he imposed on players.

UO responded briefly to the lawsuit, saying in a statement that the well-being and safety of students are top priorities.

The suit says Brenner, a 2013 Jesuit graduate, is seeking damages for permanent injuries and “a shortening of his life span by upwards of 10 years.”

“Nothing would make me happier than to have this case save other football players from serious injury," Brenner said in a statement. He graduated from UO with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

“Doug Brenner was a team leader on our Jesuit High School football teams and has incredible integrity,” says Ken Potter, longtime coach at Jesuit. “In my 32 years as a head football coach, his work ethic would put him in the top one percent.”