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Three years after student's death, wrongful death trial begins

Following the death of a University of Central Florida student in the spring of 2008, his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the UCF board of trustees and the UCF Athletics Association. The college student died during football practice.

Although the workout was supervised by the coach and staff, the 19-year-old football player collapsed and died from vascular distress. According to the autopsy, the student suffered from sickle cell. This particular condition can be dangerous if the body is under extreme stress; cells will attack organs.

Though the lawsuit was filed last year, the jury selection for the trial has just begun. Already on the third day, the judge overseeing the case has seen an unusual amount of objections from both sides. However once the jury is selected, the trial will begin.

According to the medical examiner, the young football player's death was brought on by the workout at the practice. The stress his body endured triggered the sickle cell trait, resulting in his death. The boy's family claims that the school and staff failed to properly address the medical needs of their son.

The school made a statement acknowledging the tragedy that occurred on campus. However UCF also stated that its staff did all they could in the situation but were unable to save the young man.

Since jury selection began, the claim has already changed after the UCF board of trustees was dropped from the lawsuit. However the family is still suing the UCF Athletics Association. Due to a previous ruling, UCFAA is considered a private entity and is not protected by state laws that would limit a settlement award.

Source: Orlando Sentinel online, "Ereck Plancher trial: Jury selection continues on day two of UCF-Plancher trial," Iliana Limón, 14 June 2011

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