OXFORD – (AP) The family of a Mississippi football player who died following a workout in 2010 has reached a settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit against the university and the NCAA.
Bennie Abram III, a 20-year-old non-scholarship player from Southaven, collapsed during an offseason workout and later died at a hospital in Oxford. An autopsy determined Abram’s death was caused by complications from sickle cell trait, which can alter red blood cells after strenuous exercise.
According to settlement documents, the family will receive $50,000 from the insurance company for the university’s athletic foundation. The Abrams’ attorney, Gene Egdorf of Houston, Texas, says the family also will receive $275,000 from the NCAA’s insurance policy.
The university will also pay for any undergraduate and graduate courses for Abram’s mother and two brothers done at the school.
Egdorf said the lawsuit was settled some months ago, but the case had to go through probate in chancery court, which was finalized this past week.
The NCAA has a set of guidelines for institutions to follow regarding the training of athletes with sickle cell trait, including a “slow and gradual” preseason conditioning regimen and for athletes to “stop immediately upon struggling.”
The lawsuit alleged that the first day of workouts was “carelessly and recklessly excessive,” especially for athletes with sickle cell trait. It also claims there was no evidence Abram was informed of his condition, and that he didn’t receive proper medical attention when he began struggling during the workouts, and was instead pushed to continue.
Sickle cell trait is found in approximately 8 percent of African-Americans in the United States, according to the NCAA.