High School Sports | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

Plancher Family Awarded $10M for Wrongful Death

UPDATE 7-1-2011

Orlando, FL (AP) - A jury has found that the University of
Central Florida's Athletic Association was negligent in a football
player's 2008 death and awarded his parents $10 million.

The Orlando Sentinel reports the decision came after about five
hours of deliberation Thursday night in the wrongful death trial of
Ereck Plancher.

Plancher collapsed and died following conditioning drills at the
school's football complex in March 2008. Orange County medical
examiner Joshua Stephany and three experts hired by Plancher family
attorneys testified he died from complications of sickle cell
trait.

Plancher family attorney Steve Yerrid says they've sent the
message that the welfare of student athletes is at the top of any
football program.

University spokesman Grant Heston says the program mourns
Plancher's death but the athletic association will appeal the
verdict.

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After 5 hours of deliberation a jury determined that the University of Central Florida Athletics Association (UCFAA) was guilty of negligence in the wrongful death case of football player Ereck Plancher...

Plancher's family will be awarded $10 million for their loss.

For further information, visit: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports

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Computer Expert: No Sickle Searches for Plancher

Orlando, FL (AP) - A computer expert has testified that no searches were made for sickle cell anemia on the laptop of a University of Central Florida football player who died during practice in 2008.

Computer expert Andrew Swenson testified Wednesday that it
appeared Ereck Plancher never made searches for the medical
condition.

Attorneys for his family contend this is important since it shows that Plancher didn't know he had the condition. University attorneys say trainers told the player that he had tested positive for it.

Plancher's family is seeking punitive damages in a civil lawsuit
against the university. They are trying to prove that coaches
pushed him excessively at practice despite knowing he had the
sickle cell trait.

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UPDATE -- June 20, 2011 --

Orlando, FL (AP) - A former University of Central Florida wide receiver says teammate Ereck Plancher gasped for breath, fell to his knees as his eyes rolled back into his head and struggled before collapsing and dying during his final workout.

Anthony Davis said Monday that UCF coach George O'Leary ordered
all water and trainers out of the indoor fieldhouse.

He also testified that the coach was yelling obscenities at
Plancher as he told him to get up after falling during an obstacle
course drill.

Plancher's parents have filed a wrongful death suit saying the
UCF Athletics Association is responsible for their son's death on
March 18, 2008. They are trying to prove that coaches pushed him
excessively despite knowing he had sickle cell trait.

Attorneys for the athletic association say Plancher died from an
undetected congenital heart defect.

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Orlando, FL (AP) - Jurors must decide whether University of Central Florida football player Ereck Plancher died during a workout because coaches pushed him too hard knowing he had a medical condition or whether it was from an unknown heart defect.

During opening arguments in a wrongful death trial Wednesday,
attorneys representing his parents said the 19-year-old died three
years ago from complications of sickle cell trait after an excessive workout where coach George O'Leary ordered water and trainers off the practice field.

They claim the university never told Plancher that he tested positive for the genetic problem. They also say coaches and trainers didn't follow proper emergency procedures after Plancher stumbled, gasped for breath and collapsed.

An attorney for UCF said he would show that Plancher died from a
congenital heart defect following a moderate practice.


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