By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
The Lanier Law Firm of Houston, Texas is investigating the death of former Ole Miss football player Bennie Abram, the firm said in a news release this morning.
Abram, a Southaven native who also played at Itawamba Community College, collapsed during a Feb. 19, 2010 workout and died later that day.
The autopsy report showed that Abram’s death was due to complications from sickle cell trait with exertion and a contributing factor of cardiomegaly, an inflammation of the heart.
Firm attorney Gene Egdorf says he represents the family and charges negligence on the part of the university.
“Student-athletes shouldn’t be dying because of sickle cell,” Egdorf said. “The only reason that it turns fatal is because someone along the way made mistakes or intentionally disregarded the well-established guidelines for training, monitoring, and treating these student-athletes.”
The news release says the school knew of Abram’s condition in advance but that the family was not made aware of the “potential ramifications of the diagnosis.”
Egdorf was part of a Lanier group that negotiated a 2009 settlement with the NCAA after the death of Dale Lloyd, a football player at Rice, who had also been diagnosed with sickle cell.
Egdorf cites his own investigation as he charges that the school disregarded NCAA guidelines that recommend athletes be eased into spring football practice to avoid overexertion.
Ole Miss has released these statements:
Statement from Pete Boone, Director of Athletics
The tragic loss of Bennie was immeasurable to not only the Abram family, but also the Ole Miss family. The well-being of our student-athletes has and always will be our highest priority. 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.
Statement from Lee Tyner, University Attorney
We just received the notice letter from the plaintiff’s lawyer this morning. We will look into all the issues raised and handle it in due course.