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NU coaches still responsible, Wheeler's mother says

CHICAGO -- The mother of a Northwestern University football
player who died in 2001 dropped a claim Tuesday against the
manufacturers of a dietary supplement.

Linda Will issued a statement saying she believes Northwestern
coaches and staff were solely responsible for the death of her son,
Rashidi Wheeler.

In July, Will's lawyers amended their wrongful death lawsuit to
include the supplement makers. At the time they said the statute of
limitations was due to expire, so they added the companies as a
precaution.

"It would be wrong for me to take money from the ephedra
makers," Will told the Chicago Sun-Times outside court Tuesday.
"I am not going to do a dishonest act. I'm not going to take money
just because I can."

Wheeler collapsed and died on Aug. 3, 2001, after participating
in a conditioning drill. His parents sued Northwestern, claiming
officials did not give their son, an asthmatic, timely or adequate
medical treatment.

Northwestern argues ephedra-containing supplements Wheeler was
taking caused an irregular heartbeat that led to his death.
Spokesman Alan Cubbage said Tuesday that Will's decision won't
change the school's position.

"Those supplements are unregulated and dangerous," Cubbage
said. "When Rashidi took the substances it caused a heart
arrhythmia and that led to cardiac arrest."

The university added manufacturers and sellers of the
supplements to the lawsuit as third-party defendants.