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BERKELEY (CBS SF) – University of California at Berkeley officials said the university is in mourning after football player Ted Agu died Friday when he developed problems at the end of a routine training run with his teammates.
UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said, “This is obviously a real tough day for us. It’s a tragedy and there’s sadness across the campus.”
Agu, 21, a defensive lineman from Bakersfield, was a junior majoring in public health.
Cal football coach Sonny Dykes said Agu came to the university as a walk-on but earned a football scholarship “because of his hard work and determination and the kind of teammate he was.”
Agu “was well-loved by the other players and was exactly what you would want from a young man,” Dykes said.
Agu went on a supervised training run with his teammates near Cal’s football stadium around 6 a.m. Friday but team medical personnel noticed that he was having difficulty completing the workout when he was about 150 yards from returning to the stadium, team physician Dr. Casey Batten said.
Medical personnel put Agu on a cart and initially he was hydrating and responsive, but then he collapsed when he got to the stadium’s north tunnel, Batten said.
Medical officials immediately started CPR on Agu and later used a defibrillator on him but he died shortly after being transported to the emergency room at Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley, according to Batten.
He said privacy laws prevent him from saying whether Agu had a pre-existing medical condition, but he said Agu never previously had any problems during workouts or practices.
Dykes said, “This is one of those tragedies that no one can understand or comprehend. Ted was a very special young man who had a passionate enthusiasm for life that was contagious.”
Agu “loved to learn and loved to laugh” and was “the ultimate team guy who loved the game,” Dykes said.
Stefano Bertozzi, dean of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, said in a statement that Agu was “a strong student with plans for medical school.”
Bertozzi said Agu “demonstrated strong leadership skills, serving as an informal peer advisor for incoming freshman football players.”
Dykes said he held an “emotional” team meeting after Agu died Friday and said his team “will get through this period as best we can.”
Fighting back tears, Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour said, “The Cal family is heartbroken. There is no greater tragedy than to lose one of our incredibly bright and passionate students too soon.”
Barbour said, “My focus is on the young people on this campus. They and we are devastated.”
She said the grieving for Agu will last for “days, weeks and months.”
Mogulof said Agu’s death is now being investigated by the Alameda County coroner’s bureau and it likely will take them six to eight weeks to determine his cause of death.
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