Sept 2-4, 2017: four more young athlete deaths

September 2, 2017

14-year-old Chris Fischer, a football player at Austin High School in Minnesota, passed away due to complications from cardiac arrest 10 days after collapsing at football practice.

“It is up to the rest of us to live life to the fullest in order to fill the void that we will all feel because we knew and loved Chris,” Lynn Fischer wrote.


SMU football commit Leonard Parks died in his sleep while taking a nap Saturday night, though cause of death hasn’t been confirmed.

Parks played in Texas High’s (Texarkana, Texas) opener Friday and didn’t appear to suffer an injury or have any underlying medical issues, according to reports.

“Leonard was an amazing young man. He filled a room. When he walked in a room you knew he was there. Not just because of his physical stature, but just the presence that he had. He loved his mom. Always talked about how much he wanted to do things for her. His football scholarship to SMU was an amazing accomplishment for him and he told one of our coaches just this week that the only way he wouldn’t go to SMU was if he got an offer from the University of Texas because with a degree from Southern Methodist University he had a built-in network that would help him to take care of his family and is mom for the rest of his life, ” said Texarkana ISD Superintendent Paul Norton.


September 3, 2017

Anthony Dorrego, 18 years old, collapsed on a basketball court in New Jersey and was not able to be revived.

An autopsy is being performed, Loftis said, but a doctor told the family Sunday that Dorrego died from an undiagnosed heart condition.

“This is definitely a tragic thing,” his uncle, Jimmy Loftis, said of Dorrego’s sudden death. “He was healthy and he never complained of any issues.”


September 4, 2017

East Texas freshman football player Marion Olivarez collapsed during practice and later died at a hospital. The medical examiner will determine if the teenager had any pre-existing health problems.

“The loss of any student wounds us all deeply,” Rains ISD Superintendent John Rouse said in the news release. “We know that the community joins Rains ISD in conveying our deepest sorrow and sincere condolences to the Olivarez family and friends.”

Primary prevention is necessary to better protect young athletes.

Sports physicals are not enough to catch all underlying heart conditions. Published studies estimate that pre-participation screening (history and physical exam) only catches 3-15% of cardiac problems.

EKGs are not enough to identify all heart conditions that can cause sudden cardiac arrest. There are serious cardiac abnormalities that can be detected through an echocardiogram but not through an EKG, and vice versa. Echocardiograms can confirm positive EKG findings and refute those that are false positive.

Please make sure your students, athletes, children are safe. Get them tested for heart conditions.

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