Ereck Plancher was a member of the Central Florida football team before he collapsed and died during a March 18, 2008 workout. An autopsy revealed that sickle cell trait problems contributed to Plancher's death. His parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the UCF Athletics Association for failure to properly treat Plancher for that condition.
Instead of settling out of court, this lawsuit went to trial this week. The jury will need to decide between two different arguments. Steve Yerrid, the Plancher's lawyer, argued that coach George O'Leary conducted a tough workout on March 18 and that the one athletic trainer on duty had no knowledge of Plancher's sickle cell trait affection.
On the defense's side, UCFAA lawyer Dan Shapiro argued that his medical experts would explain that sickle cell trait did not lead to Plancher's death; rather it was a congenital heart condition that could only be found after his death. For a full blow-by-blow of the trial so far, the Orlando Sentinel is the place to go.
Team Speed Skills, our SEC blog, takes issue with how little impact this trial has made in the news cycle: "It is a little disturbing that this story has gone almost completely unnoticed thus far, because it has immense implications for college football." TSS then cites an Orlando Sentinel column that believes the consequences of this trial could impose new rules on the way football programs are run.