Cal football player from Bakersfield dies after team run

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. A Cal football player from Bakersfield died Friday morning after collapsing during a training run with teammates.

Ted Agu, 21, was a junior defensive lineman who went to Bakersfield's Frontier High School. He recorded six tackles in seven games of action for Cal last season.

Officials at the University of California, Berkeley said the run near Memorial Stadium was supervised by multiple members of the team's medical staff, according to The Associated Press. Team physician Dr. Casey Batten said the medical staff saw he had difficulty completing the workout, and he was transferred by cart about 150 yards to 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 at a news conference.

Agu collapsed when he got to a medical facility at the stadium, and emergency medical personnel were alerted. Agu was given CPR. He was taken to Alta Bates Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

"This is one of those tragedies that no one can understand and comprehend," Cal coach Sonny Dykes said at the news conference.

CBS Sports columnist Dennis Dodd reports Agu had sickle cell trait. Dodd reports that the majority of deaths among Division I football players since 2000 have been related to sickle cell trait and off-season conditioning.

CDC: What you should know about sickle cell trait {>}{>}

The cause of death has not been determined. Batten said Agu never had any previous problems with workouts or practice during his time at the university.

Agu earned All-Southwest Yosemite League honors during his final two years of high school, leading the conference with 12 sacks as a senior, according to his Cal bio. He also participated in basketball and track-and-field during his time at Frontier.

His high school coach told Eyewitness News that Agu was a "model student athlete" and "relentless" on the field.

Agu made the honor roll all four years of high school, 2006-10.

"Ted's dream was to become a doctor and play college football. Though he had opportunities to play college ball for smaller programs, he elected to walk on at Cal to get the best education possible," Frontier coach Rich Cornford told Eyewitness News in a written message. "Ted's work ethic allowed him to earn a full scholarship. He was a great kid, with a wonderful smile who will be sorely missed by everyone that knew him. Kids like Ted Agu are why I coach."


This article was written with information from Eyewitness News in Bakersfield and AP sports reporter Josh Dubow in Berkeley.