Family sues UCF over player's death Print
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Thursday, 12 March 2009 13:30
NCAAF Headline News

 ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -The family of a 19-year-old Central Florida football player who died while doing offseason conditioning drills is suing the university, alleging coaches and trainers ignored signs of fatigue that led to his death.
Enock and Giselle Plancher, the parents of UCF freshman wide receiver Ereck Plancher, are seeking damages in excess of $15,000, not including interest, costs and attorney's fees, according to court documents filed Thursday. The UCF Board of Trustees and the UCF Athletics Association are named as defendants in the lawsuit.
Plancher died last year after taking part in the team's ``mat drills'' during an offseason conditioning workout last year on the University of Central Florida campus. The workout was supervised by Coach George O'Leary and his staff.
to verbally respond to questions, and other signs of extreme fatigue that were ignored by trainers and/or coaches,'' the lawsuit states.
The university has repeatedly defended its response to Plancher's collapse and death.
``Per university policy, UCF will not discuss specifics about the lawsuit,'' university spokesman Grant Heston said in a statement Wednesday. ``The health of our student-athletes is our top priority. UCF has made that clear by conducting a comprehensive and independent review of the football program's training policies and procedures. The results of that review are expected soon.''
A report from the Orange County Medical Examiner's Office said Plancher had a sickle cell trait that caused problems with his red blood cells during physical exertion. The examination showed Plancher's heart began beating abnormally, and blood flow to the wide receiver's muscles and organs slowed or stopped.
``There are many athletes that have the sickle cell trait and they can thrive in athletics, both professional and in amateur sports, as long as they're not placed through certain overexertion, extreme exercises,'' said the family's attorney, J.D. Dowell.
The family's lawsuit came on the same day that the University of Missouri agreed to pay $2 million to the family of a former reserve linebacker who collapsed on the field and then died during a 2005 preseason workout.
Boone County Circuit Judge Gary Oxenhandler approved the settlement in a brief hearing Thursday. The agreement ends a three-year lawsuit over the death of Aaron O'Neal, a 19-year-old redshirt freshman from suburban St. Louis who collapsed on the Memorial Stadium field during a voluntary workout in July 2005. He died less than two hours later.
 

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