A jury has determined that the University of Central Florida is responsible for negligence in the death of former football wide receiver Ereck Plancher, and has ordered the UCF Athletics Association to pay each of his parents $5 million. It determined that UCF would not have to pay punitive damages.
Plancher was doing drills at UCF on March 18, 2008 when he collapsed and then died. A county medical examiner, along with several experts hired by Plancher's parents, testified at the trial that Plancher's collapse came as a result of a sickle-cell condition.
[County medical examiner Joshua] Stephany told the jury last week extreme stress caused Plancher's red blood cells to sickle, or warp, and quickly damaged his major organs.
UCF also had a paid expert, Dr. Martin H. Steinberg, who said that Plancher's parents' argument was "nuts." The UCFAA argued that Plancher died of a heart condition, and that the athletics association was not to blame.
Multiple UCF players testified at the trial that coach George O'Leary had denied his players water during the conditioning drills. Former wide receiver Anthony Davis also said that Plancher had previously collapsed, and that coaches had told players not to help him get up.
The UCFAA will likely appeal the ruling. The entire 2010-2011 football budget was $8.5 million, less than the $10 million it will now have to pay.
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