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University Sued Over Football Player’s Death

ORLANDO (CN) - The family of former University of Central Florida football player Ereck Plancher filed a wrongful death claim against the university and its athletic association, claiming Plancher collapsed and died at practice because team coaches pushed him too far.

Plancher was attending off-season conditioning on March 18, 2008, when he "experienced exhaustion, dizziness, shortness of breath, loss of balance resulting in a collapse, inability to verbally respond to questions and other signs of extreme fatigue that were ignored by the trainers and/or coaches of the UCFAA," the lawsuit claims.

After Plancher collapsed, the suit claims, the team's coaches made him stand up and continue to complete the drills. Plancher allegedly collapsed a second time, and later died.

His family says the defendants "owed a duty to its football players, including Ereck Plancher, who had a sickle-cell trait, to develop, plan and execute a conditioning program that was reasonably safe and that would not endanger the lives of its players." The defendants allegedly failed to provide Plancher with access to water, provided sufficient time to rest, or notice signs of intense physical distress.

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed in Orange County Court. The plaintiffs are represented by J.D. Dowell of Pitisci Dowell in Tampa.

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