A wrongful death lawsuit against the University of Mississippi has been put on hold by a judge. The lawsuit is over the death of a 20-year-old football player who collapsed during a team workout. The lawsuit claims that university personnel had information that could have prevented the athlete’s death but acted negligently.
The autopsy report cited three factors in his death: sickle cell trait, exertion, and an enlarged heart. Sickle-cell trait has been linked to the deaths of about 20 college athletes, according to the plaintiff’s attorney in the case. Testing for sickle-cell trait has been recommended as a standard practice in college athletics following the 2009 death of a Rice University football player linked to sickle-cell trait. Testing was instituted not in response to the death itself, but in response to a lawsuit filed over that death. In the Ole Miss case, the young athlete had been tested for sickle-cell trait, and more than two weeks before his collapse and death school officials knew he had the condition, but did not inform him or his parents.
This case demonstrates that wrongful death lawsuits can serve not only to compensate family members for their loss, but have the real potential to save lives. The death of this young athlete might have been prevented if the University of Mississippi had followed through on guidelines arising out of a previous wrongful death lawsuit. Hopefully, after this lawsuit, schools will finally get the message and begin following appropriate practices.
If you have lost a loved one, your wrongful death lawsuit can protect other families from having to suffer a tragedy such as yours. Please contact the Columbus personal injury lawyers at Robert W. Kerpsack, CO, LPA today for a free consultation.