Former Cal football player Ted Agu, who collapsed after a Feb. 7 team training run, died of the same heart condition that took the lives of athletes including Hank Gathers and Reggie Lewis, according to the Alameda County Coroners office.
Sgt. Paul Graves confirmed that Agu died of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is an excessive thickening of the heart muscle, and is a common cause of unexpected death in athletes.
Graves said the pathologist’s report, which will not be complete for another couple weeks, did not indicate any other significant conditions which may have contributed to Agu’s death. CBS Sports reported shortly after Agu’s death that he had tested positive for the sickle cell trait.
Agu was a 21-year-old junior defensive end and pre-med student from Bakersfield.
A spokesman for Cal athletics said the school has not yet seen the coroner’s report.
“Out of respect for Ted Agu’s family, we will have no comment on the Alameda County Coroner’s findings until that office publicly issues its final report,” the athletic department said in a statement. “Our team, our student-athletes and our University will continue to honor Ted Agu. He will forever be a beloved member of our Golden Bear family.”
According to the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association website, the muscle thickening of the heart occurs without an obvious cause, but prevents proper blood flow.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common of all genetic heart conditions, according to the HCMA, affecting 1 in 500 people in the general population. Based on that, the association estimates as many as 600,000 people in the United States have HCM.
The website says there is no gender, age or ethnic factor specific to the condition, and no specific symptom or complaint unique to HCM.
“The reason for the onset of symptoms is often not clear,” according to the HCMA website.