Family threatens to sue in death of Ole Miss football player - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Family threatens to sue in death of Ole Miss football player

By Daniel Hight - bio | email | Facebook

OXFORD, MS (WMC-TV) - An Ole Miss football player collapsed and died during a workout last year. His family claims the University of Mississippi was negligent and is threatening to sue.

A letter was sent to the University of Mississippi as a 90-day notice of a lawsuit that will be filed in the wrongful death of 20-year-old Bennie 'Buster' Abram.

The DeSoto Central High football star died unexpectedly at Ole Miss on the first day of practice last year. Nearly three weeks before his death, Abram tested positive for the sickle cell trait.

"This has become an epidemic," said Gene Egdorf, the family attorney. "We're in double digits of college football players who have died from these complications."

Egdorf said in an interview over the phone that Ole Miss, its coaches and team physician were negligent by not following safety guidelines put in place by the NCAA.

"All athletes with sickle cell traits should be able to go out and play and be just fine if they're handled appropriately," said Egdorf.

The letter gives Ole Miss 90 days to resolve the claim and asks for $10 million in damages for the family.

Pete Boone, the Director of Athletics at Ole Miss said in a statement, "We reviewed all the actions taken by our medical professionals, athletic trainers and coaches and found that medical protocol and emergency action plans complied with the Best Practices at that time for such cases. We are surprised by this letter from the attorneys and are confident that the facts confirm that we followed the proper procedures."

Boone added that safety is the school's number one priority, but Egdorf says the University needs to take responsibility.

"I really want people to understand that the concern here is the lives of these kids and the future of these other kids," Egdorf said. "This is not a lawsuit about money. It is a lawsuit about making sure these things don't happen."

The university has 90 days to make a settlement offer. If they do not, the attorney said the family will definitely file the lawsuit.

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