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The Lanier Law Firm Announces Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Rice University, Former Coach, NCAA, Others in Student's Sickle-Cell Death

HOUSTON, Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorneys from The Lanier Law Firm in Houston are announcing a wrongful death lawsuit filed today in Harris County state district court on behalf of the parents of a former Rice University student athlete who died following a grueling football practice at the school in 2006. The lawsuit calls into question the medical screening policies for African American student athletes at university athletic programs nationwide.

Dale and Bridgette Lloyd, parents of the late Dale Lloyd II, are represented by W. Mark Lanier and other attorneys from The Lanier Law Firm. In addition to the university, the lawsuit also names as defendants former Rice football coach Todd Graham and several assistant coaches, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and nutritional supplement providers Optimal Nutrition Systems of Rock Hill, S.C., and Cytosport Inc. of Benecia, Calif.

"By filing this lawsuit, the Lloyd family hopes to prevent other families from having to suffer through a similar needless tragedy," says Mr. Lanier. "They want to make sure their son's death was not in vain, and that something like this never happens again."

Mr. Lloyd was a 19-year-old freshman who played defensive back for the Rice Owls football team. On Sept. 24, 2006, during practice, Mr. Lloyd and other team members were given nutritional supplement shakes that, according to the lawsuit, contained creatine, a naturally occurring organic acid that supplies energy to muscle and nerve cells. Creatine also causes dangerous side effects, including dehydration, headaches, kidney failure and rhabdomyoloysis, a breakdown of muscle fibers that causes the release of harmful substances into the bloodstream. Medical literature has long warned about the increased risk of rhabdomyoloysis for those who use nutritional supplements and also have the trait for sickle-cell disease. The sickle cell trait is found in one in 12 African Americans and can be diagnosed with a simple blood test.

After taking the supplement, Mr. Lloyd, an African American, was ordered by his coaches to run 16 individual 100-yard sprints. Despite Mr. Lloyd having trouble breathing and being in obvious pain, the coaching staff ordered other players not to help him as he was forced to complete the sprints. When the session was over, Mr. Lloyd collapsed on the field and never regained consciousness. He died the next day, with the Harris County Medical Examiner determining his death as the result of "acute excertional rhabdomyoloysis secondary to sickle cell trait."

"Were it not for the color of his skin, we believe Dale would still be in college with his whole life ahead of him," says Mr. Lanier. "If Rice University had conducted simple blood tests on African American student athletes, then they would have seen that Dale had the sickle cell trait and that he should have never been given a creatine-based supplement directly before being forced to complete such a brutal workout."

Although African Americans comprise a large number of student athletes at U.S. universities, very few schools test for the sickle cell trait, exposing thousands of young people to the conditions that lead to the death of Dale Lloyd II.

For more information on the lawsuit, please contact Bruce Vincent at 800.559.4534 or

SOURCE The Lanier Law Firm
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