Three UCF players testified coach George O'Leary never ordered water and athletic trainers be removed from Ereck Plancher's final workout.
Plancher collapsed and died following offseason conditioning drills at the UCF football complex on March 18, 2008.
Former UCF captain Rocky Ross and current UCF running back Ronnie Weaver stated during the 12th day of the Plancher wrongful death trial water was available at all times during the workout.
Weaver, the first witness called Tuesday as the UCF Athletics Association began presenting its defense, testified he drank from a water bottle handed to him by an athletic trainer during Plancher's final workout.
"Yes there was both waters and trainers in the indoor the entire time we were in there," Weaver said.
Former UCF wide receiver Jamar Newsome, a starter on the 2010 team, stated O'Leary ordered the water and trainers be moved off the field and placed on a sideline behind the players while they went through an obstacle course. Newsome stated O'Leary sometimes ordered the trainers and water be moved off the field so that the players would not be lackadaisical and attempt to drink water between their first and second trips through the obstacle course.
When UCF wide receivers coach David Kelly was asked whether anyone ordered water and athletic trainers be removed from the fieldhouse, he responded, "Absolutely not."
The testimony by the players and Kelly conflicts with statements made by former UCF players Brian Watters, Anthony Davis and Cody Minnich, who testified O'Leary ordered athletic trainers and water be removed from the indoor practice facility on the day Plancher died.
O'Leary testified last week he never ordered the water and trainers be removed.
Circuit Judge Robert M. Evans previously ruled the Plancher family would have to prove to a jury O'Leary ordered the water and athletic trainers be removed from the fieldhouse to earn punitive damages.
Before the jury considers punitive damages, it is scheduled to decide later this week whether UCFAA is guilty of negligence for failing to do everything possible save Plancher's life.
Orange County medical examiner Joshua Stephany testified last week Plancher died from complications of sickle cell trait. He stated under extreme stress, red blood cells can become warped and quickly break down the body's key organs. Plancher family expert Dr. Randy Eichner told the jury UCFAA was "below the standard of care" on the day the football player, and Plancher could have been saved if he had been pulled from the workout when he first showed signs of distress. Eichner stated sickle cell trait can be triggered two minutes after the start of a workout.
UCFAA attorneys contend Plancher died from an undiagnosed heart condition and no one was responsible for his death.
Weaver, Ross, Newsome and former player Darin Baldwin who was not asked about water or athletic trainers -- stated Plancher showed varied signs of fatigue during the workout. They stated they thought he was just tired, but they agreed during cross examination it was unusual for Plancher to finish sprints behind offensive linemen.
Kelly stated he never saw Plancher show any signs of distress during the offseason conditioning drills, but he added that he was supervising select portions of the conditioning drills and was not monitoring Plancher closely during the entire workout.
Weaver, Newsome and Ross were asked numerous questions about the water and athletic trainers being present in the fieldhouse.
When Weaver was asked how he knew athletic trainers and water were present, he responded, "One of the trainers gave me the water. "
Later during his testimony, Weaver was asked whether O'Leary ever ordered the athletic trainers and water be removed.
"Water and trainers are always available in the indoor and any training that we do at all times," Weaver said. "There are water fountains at the back of the indoor and they're on at all times.The water crates are there at all times, and they're always filled."