Ereck Plancher Age: 19 School: UCF Date of death: March 18, 2008 Circumstances: Plancher, a 5-foot-10, 181-pound wide receiver, reported for offseason conditioning drills supervised by head football coach George O'Leary and his staff on March 18, 2008. It was the team's second workout after returning from a nine-day spring break. After a weightlifting session, Plancher and his teammates did agility drills inside the school's indoor practice facility. The team went through three stations, then began another series of drills that has been described as an obstacle course that spanned the length of the field. Plancher's teammates testified he began showing signs of distress during the obstacle course, breathing heavily and showing signs of abnormal muscle weakness for a player who typically was in good physical condition. One player testified he helped Plancher through the conditioning drills, while another player said he let Plancher lean on him to remain standing up while waiting to complete his second through the obstacle course. The team then did a timed sprint. Plancher stumbled and finished the sprint last. Coaches supervising the workout said they never noticed Plancher showing signs of distress during the workout and thought Plancher simply caught his foot in the turf during the sprint. Plancher collapsed after a team huddle that marked the end of the conditioning drills and was carried out of the practice facility by his teammates. He was treated by two of the school's athletic trainers, who called 911 when his vital signs deteriorated. Plancher was transported to a nearby hospital and died shortly after the workout. An Orange County medical examiner determined Plancher died from complications of sickle cell trait. The Plancher family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the UCF Athletics Association, which oversees the football program. During a three-week trial, Plancher family attorneys argued UCFAA violated its policy and never informed Plancher he had sickle cell trait. The Plancher attorneys also alleged UCFAA failed to properly respond when Plancher showed signs of distress. UCFAA attorneys argued the medical examiner's findings were incorrect and Plancher's death was caused by an undiagnosed heart condition. They told the jury no one could have saved Plancher's life. After about five hours of deliberation on June 30, 2011, the jury determined UCFAA was negligent and Plancher's parents should be awarded $10 million in damages. UCFAA attorneys filed an extensive motion asking the judge to reverse the jury's ruling, reduce the damages awarded to the Planchers or order a new trial. If he judge denies the motion, the UCFAA attorneys can file a formal appeal.
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