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$10 Million for Wrongful Football Death

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Baisha Kreuzer5 years ago

The parents of a young college student, who attended the University of Central Florida, received $10 million in a settlement case regarding the wrongful death of their son during a football practice.

Son and Family Not Informed of Health Risks

  • On March 18, 2008, the plaintiff’s son, 19, was engaged in a football workout at the University when he suddenly collapsed and died.
  • The plaintiff sued USF Athletics Association Inc. and the university’s board of trustees for wrongful death.
  • The plaintiff’s counsel stated that UCF was neglectful for failing to inform his son about his positive results for sickle-cell trait as well as team physicians, coaches, athletic trainers and others who needed to know of this information.

Death Occurred During Intense Workout

  • Four UCF football players who were present testified the workout as intense. They also stated the plaintiff’s son was wobbly during the workout and was singled out by the head coach for lack of effort.
  • Water breaks were removed from the football practice and the fans were turned off by the coach so that he was able to address the team more clearly. This allowed for a harsh environment for someone with sickle-cell traits. The Plaintiff’s son might have been saved if he had been monitored more closely during the workout.
  • The Defense argued that the Plaintiff’s son experienced fibro muscular dysplasia, which caused a blockage of 90% of the blood flow to his heart. No studies prove that sickle cell trait causes sudden death. The expert opined that he died of a heart condition that could not have been helped regardless of when trainers intervened.

The Verdict

The jury found the defendants at fault and awarded the plaintiff a total of $10 million, but declined to award punitive damages.

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