Early Friday morning, Cal Berkeley defensive end, Ted Agu of Bakersfield, Ca., collapsed after a conditioning exercise and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. The athletic staff of the Golden Bears stated that he was struggling with the early morning run and was carted off the field in order to seek medical attention. Trainers witnessed him hydrating and talking lucidly with no outward signs of distress; shortly thereafter, he collapsed. Medical staff performed CPR and transported him to Alta Bates Medical Center. Sadly, they were unable to resuscitate him. As a result, Cal Berkeley Pre-med student athlete Ted Agu was pronounced dead at the young age of 21.
Ted Agu graduated from Frontier High School in his hometown of Bakersfield, Ca. in 2010, earning honor roll recognition for his entire high school career. Additionally, despite heavy interest from schools such as UC Davis and Cal Poly, Agu chose Cal Berkeley due to the balance between competitive sports and academics. Agu wanted to play for the Golden Bears, but he also valued a good education. Agu’s high school coach, Rich Cornford noted, that Ted was a hard worker and an academic leader who someday hoped to become a medical doctor.
Agu did not receive a football scholarship to Cal, but chose to attend anyway and participate in football as a walk-on candidate. Agu later received a full scholarship by demonstrating his talents and hard work both on and off the field. Additionally, he contributed to his team by mentoring lower classmen academically, tutoring those who struggled to earn the grades needed to participate in athletics. The coaching staff shocked team members with an impromptu meeting to announce the news released by Cal Berkeley confirming that 21 year-old pre-med athlete Ted Agu was dead. Classmates, friends and even a few football opponents, took to Twitter with an outpouring of support for the family and to express their high opinions of Agu and how he touched their lives.
In addition to testimonies to Agu’s character from those who knew him best, he also possessed a phenomenal athletic record that speaks volumes for his work ethic. Agu not only played football in high school, he also participated in track and basketball. During his first freshman and sophomore years, he arned All-Southwest Yosemite League honors for prep team. Later, during his senior year, Agu lead the conference with 12.0 sacks, 3.0 of which took place in a single game earning him the Defensive Player of the Game award. Additionally, for that year, he recorded an amazing 62 tackles, 12 in one game alone. While playing at Cal he demonstrated his versatility by playing as both a defensive end and linebacker, earning second-team Pac-12 All-Academic honors.
UC Berkeley Athletics Director, Sandy Barbour, released an official statement Friday afternoon confirming Agu’s death and offering condolences and support to his family, the student body, friends and teammates. Barbour also asked that the media in particular understand the tragedy from the family’s perspective and be respectful. Naturally, Barbour had nothing new to offer regarding the circumstances surrounding Agu’s untimely death. Further, it will take several weeks for the medical examiner to determine the specific cause of death for the 21 year-old Cal Pre-Med Athlete, Ted Agu. In the meantime, loved ones will mourn in confusion and remember a student athlete with a promising future, taken way too soon.
By Chavala Trigg