BALTIMORE (CN) – The family of Morgan State University football player Marquese Meadow, who died after a “punishment practice,” claims in court that coaches and trainers didn’t know how to treat heatstroke.
The 18-year-old freshman football player died from complications related to heatstroke in August 2014. According to a lawsuit filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court on Tuesday against the university and Good Samaritan Hospital, the young man’s death was preventable.
“If recognized timely and treated properly within the standard of care, individuals suffering [exertional heat stroke, or EHS] have a one hundred-percent survival rate,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit alleges the university did not have “an adequate policy for treating EHS and its coaches, trainers and staff were inadequately and improperly trained in how to respond to EHS.” Meadow’s mother Benita seeks more than $150,000 in damages.
Meadow participated in a “punishment practice” for the Morgan State Bears on the evening of Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014, to discipline several individuals for violating team rules, according to the lawsuit.
The practice was the ninth consecutive day of practices and players had been spending more than four hours of practice time on the field.
According to the 14-page complaint, practice began at 7 p.m. in 82-degree heat and players were required to start running at 7:15 p.m. for over an hour. At 8:15 p.m., Meadow was observed to stumble and appeared disoriented, his mother claims.
The team’s staff made attempts to lower Meadow’s body temperature by applying cold water to his armpits and groin.
Meadow was taken to the Good Samaritan Hospital where he was said to be confused, lethargic and unresponsive. His temperature was 106.6 degrees Fahrenheit at 9:45 p.m.
Doctors attempted to lower Meadow’s body temperature, but he had already suffered major complications from hyperthermia, the lawsuit states.
Meadow was transferred to Johns Hopkins Hospital where he was diagnosed with liver and kidney failure and brain damage because of a loss of oxygen flow.
He remained in the hospital’s intensive care unit on a respirator before suffering a seizure on Aug. 23 and dying the next day, according to the suit.
Neither Morgan State nor Laurence Marder, the attorney representing Meadow’s mother, responded to emailed requests for comment.
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