Further tests to be done in O'Neal's death

Updated: July 14, 2005, 8:01 PM ET
Associated Press

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- A preliminary autopsy report ruled out infection, trauma or foul play in the death of Missouri football player Aaron O'Neal.

Boone County medical examiner Valerio Rao said Thursday that complete autopsy results won't be available for weeks, pending further tests.

The front gate of Memorial Stadium was adorned with flowers, cards, banners and other memorials Thursday for the 19-year-old O'Neal, a redshirt freshman who collapsed at the end of an hour-long voluntary workout Tuesday.

Coach Gary Pinkel expects the team to organize a memorial service for O'Neal, but no details were available Thursday. Friends and family in St. Louis also want a memorial service there in addition to the funeral, said Chad Moller, a Missouri athletics department spokesman.

O'Neal's funeral is scheduled for Monday at Westside Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis.

Under NCAA rules, the summer workouts are supervised by strength and conditioning directors and athletic trainers, not coaches.

The NCAA passed a series of stringent regulations governing summer workouts after the deaths of three Division I football players in the summer of 2001, including a requirement that those supervising the workouts be trained and certified in CPR and first aid techniques.

Asked whether strength coaches and trainers could have done more to help O'Neal, Pinkel stood by his staff.

"I believe in them 100 percent," he said.

Strength coach Pat Ivey supervised the workout. Ivey has declined to answer questions. Team officials canceled workouts for the rest of the week.

Pinkel said that he will re-evaluate how summer workouts are conducted, but doesn't think the sessions should be blamed for O'Neal's death.

"We're very comfortable with what we do," he said. "If we didn't do these things, I think we would have significantly more [injuries]."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE