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Stringer’s Death Is Under Investigation

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Minnesota Viking officials met for two hours Wednesday with state investigators looking into the heatstroke death of tackle Korey Stringer.

“We walked through our entire setup, top to bottom,” said Viking Vice President Mike Kelly, who, along with the team trainer and equipment manager, met with investigators from the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Kelly said the investigation could take weeks to complete because OSHA probably will wait until training camp ends to interview witnesses about Stringer’s final practice. He said it’s possible the report will include information from Stringer’s autopsy, which is pending the results of toxicology tests. But OSHA spokesman James Honerman said the focus of the report will be how the Vikings handled the situation, not details of the death.

“Any time OSHA goes on any workplace fatality it is to see if any OSHA standards were violated,” Honerman said.

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The Vikings have no plans to discuss Stringer’s medical situation unless they get clearance from his widow, Kelci.

“All the medical information is 100% the family’s,” Kelly said.

Every Viking player is weighed before and after each practice, and Stringer was no exception, Kelly said.

Mike Tice, who coaches the offensive line, said Stringer looked good in his last practice and showed no signs of dehydration or heat-related illness. Tice said he never saw Stringer vomit during that practice, contrary to widespread reports.

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The Vikings are conducting their own investigation into Stringer’s death and how they might recognize a similar problem earlier next time.

“We loved Korey, he was a special player,” Kelly said. “But even if you take the most crass view of this, we have so much invested in these players that to think that the club or the league would do anything other than provide the highest possible service is crazy.”


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