Honored Missouri strength coach wasn't certified when former player died
Highly regarded Pat Ivey gets national award but was among those overseeing voluntary workout when Aaron O'Neal died.
The Missouri strength coach honored nationally by a professional organization Monday was not certified by a rival group at the time of a player’s 2005 death. At the time, that certification by the National Strength and Conditioning Association was reportedly required for employment.
Missouri strength coach Pat Ivey was named “Master Strength and Conditioning Coach” by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCA). But at the time depositions were taken following the death of former player Aaron O’Neal, Ivey said he was not certified by the NSSCA. The Associated Press noted in 2009 such certification was a qualification for employment on a university job description.
Within a year of O’Neal’s death, Ivey was certified, according to NSCA president Jay Hoffman. O’Neal died of what was determined to be sickle cell trait after collapsing during a summer workout. Ivey was part of the training and strength staff who oversaw the voluntary workout during which O’Neal collapsed and later died. A former Missouri player, he has been in strength and conditioning at the school since 2004.
“[Ivey] attends all coaching conferences held by the NSCA and as far as I know has done a good job in maintaining his continuing education and certification for his profession,” Hoffman said in an email.
Missouri settled a lawsuit brought by O’Neal’s parents for $2 million in March 2009. In the settlement, no fault was attributed to head coach Gary Pinkel, AD Mike Alden, Ivey and other athletic and university officials.
Exertional offseason workouts have been the leading killer of college football players since 2000. Most of those deaths have been attributed to sickle cell trait. The NCAA has mandated testing for the condition since 2010.
During a National Athletic Trainers’ Association conference in June, a task force is expected to call for recommendations regarding sudden death of college athletes in conditioning. Among the recommendations is that NCAA schools hire strength coaches who are accredited.
Approximately 50 percent of collegiate strength coaches belong to both the NSCA and CSCCA. The two associations are considered rivals. The CSCCA says on its website it is not affiliated “in any way” with the NSCA.
The task force is also expected to recommend in all cases that strength coaches report to an AD or director of sports medicine, as opposed to a head coach.
Ivey will be honored by the CSCCA Thursday in Orlando, Fla.
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