Family sues Morgan State over football player’s death

Daily Record Legal Affairs Writer//February 16, 2016

Family sues Morgan State over football player’s death

By Heather Cobun

//Daily Record Legal Affairs Writer

//February 16, 2016

The family of a Morgan State University freshman football recruit who died of heatstroke at a practice in 2014 filed suit against the school Tuesday, alleging his death was preventable had proper training and procedures been in place.

Marquese D. Meadow, an 18-year-old defensive lineman from Washington, became disoriented at a mandatory “punishment practice” on Aug. 10, 2014, according to the complaint filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court. Emergency medical services arrived and transported an unresponsive Meadow to Good Samaritan Hospital of Maryland in Baltimore.

Meadow was transferred the following day to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he died Aug. 24.

“This young man should be alive and he’s not alive because of a failure to recognize his illness,” said Laurence A. Marder, the attorney representing Meadow’s mother.

The lawsuit alleges Morgan State’s athletic staff failed to recognize and properly treat Meadow’s symptoms, which required immediate action, according to Marder, of Bekman, Marder & Adkins LLC in Baltimore.

“The literature has been out for a very long period of time that when you run summer football practices, you have to be on the lookout for heatstroke,” he said.

Larry Jones, a spokesman for Morgan State, said the university does not comment on pending legal matters.

According to Marder, it’s not clear if the athletics staff even knew they were dealing with a heatstroke case when Meadow began showing symptoms, but quick treatment is necessary for survival.

“If you provide adequate treatment within an hour, you have a 100 percent chance of survival,” Marder said.

A football team physician was not present at the practice, Marder said, but is responsible for training staff to recognize heatstroke and ensure proper protocols are in place.

On the sidelines, cold water was placed on Meadow’s groin and armpits in an attempt to cool him but his temperature was not taken, according to the complaint. The most effective response to heatstroke symptoms is submersion in a tub of ice water, which was not done.

“I think around the country a lot of teams know how to do that,” Marder said.

Meadow was transported to the hospital where his temperature was not taken until more than an hour after his arrival. Cooling measures were ordered but hours later his temperature was still elevated.

“That is inexplicable in today’s world,” Marder said.

By the time Meadow arrived at Johns Hopkins, he had liver and kidney failure and suffered a brain injury from widespread loss of oxygen, according to the complaint.

“The die had been cast and he ended up dying,” Marder said.

On Aug. 23, the day before he died, Meadow began seizing and suffered a neurological emergency.

The survival action was filed against against Morgan State, its head sports medicine physician, Good Samaritan and the emergency room doctor who treated Meadow.

Meadow’s family is seeking more than $75,000 in damages.

The case is Benita D. Meadow et al. v. Morgan State University et al., 24C16000830


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