A Tarleton State University football died of traumatic brain injury (TBI) after falling and hitting his head during what the school called “routine” play during spring practice. http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/04/01/v-print/2083080/tarleton-football-player-died.html
Perhaps the lesson here is that no play in football is “routine,” in that players, particularly 18-year-olds like Zachary Shaver, always risk fatal injury. The youth from Wichita Falls, Texas, died last Monday from a head injury he sustained Saturday.
Shaver, a redshirt freshman, became part of Tarleton’s team last fall as defensive lineman, according to press release posted on the Texas university’s Web site. http://www.tarleton.edu/scripts/press/display.asp?id=3069
During spring practice in Stephenville, “The 6-2, 280-pound defensive tackle got tangled up with an offensive lineman on a play,” The Times Record News of Wichita Falls reported. “The two players fell over the back of a pile with the offensive lineman on top of Shaver, who hit his head on the turf and never recovered.” http://www.timesrecordnews.com/news/2010/mar/29/former-rider-player-dies-result-practice-accident/
Shaver was airlifted to a hospital, but never recovered. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner found Shaver’s death was accidental and was caused by TBI.
Officials at Tarleton offered glowing praise for Shaver in the press release on his death.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of this young student-athlete,” said Tarleton athletics director Lonn Reisman. “This is a tragic loss for the Shaver family and my heart goes out to them. I am thankful for our athletic training staff, the emergency medical teams and the hospital staff for their professional response.”
When Tarleton head coach Cary Fowler was the defensive coordinator at Midwestern State, the Shaver family lived close to the Fowlers.
“Zach was a great young man, and I enjoyed watching him grow up over the years,” Fowler said. “This is a very difficult time for the Shaver family and the Texan football family. Zach was a great person and teammate, and he was a pleasure to coach. We ask that everyone pray for his friends and family to help them through this difficult situation.”
Even Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio offered a statement on Shaver.
“It is always difficult to lose one of our Tarleton family members, especially when they are so young,” Dottavio said. “Counselors will be on hand to respond to any needs. Lisette and I will keep his family in our thoughts and prayers.”
The cause of the injury here is a puzzle. With all of the violent hits every football player endures in his career, this one would not stand out. The key is one never knows the internal forces at work or the weakness of that particular part of the brain subjected to the stress. Any claim that any given trauma isn’t sufficient to injure the brain is disproven by this one tragedy.
Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
email@example.com :: 800-992-9447 :: Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.