Colorado teen collapses during rugby match, dies
Matthew Hammerdorfer died shortly after a rugby match in Colorado.
March 7th, 2011
08:05 AM ET

Colorado teen collapses during rugby match, dies

Another teen athlete has died suddenly during a game.

Matthew Hammerdorfer of Fort Collins, Colorado, collapsed during a rugby match Saturday. The 17-year-old's death was caused by complications from a heart condition, according to CNN affiliate KMGH-TV in Denver.

Friends of the teen told reporters that he was a multi-sport athlete, the station said. He loved mountain biking and reggae, a friend told CNN affiliate KCNC who saw Hammerdorfer collapse.

Witnesses said Hammerdorfer took a hit on the field Saturday, fell and did not get up,  KMGH reported. "We got reports that the victim was in seizure at some point before and during our response," said Patrick Love, spokesman for the Poudre Fire Authority, according to the station. The teenager was taken to a hospital, where he died, the station reported.

On Sunday, hundreds attended visitation of a Michigan high school basketball player who died during a game last week. Wes Leonard, 16, of Fennville, died moments after scoring the winning basket in overtime Thursday, securing a perfect season for the Fennville High School Blackhawks. Leonard scored his team's last four points in the 57-55 victory.

An autopsy Friday revealed Leonard died of cardiac arrest due to an enlarged heart, according to Dr. David A. Start, the Ottawa County chief medical examiner.

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Filed under: Basketball • Health • Rugby • Sports
soundoff (187 Responses)
  1. Brian

    Shaun White has Tetraology of Fallot and he is an olympic gold medalist. This kid did what he wanted with his life as he had every right to. He died doing what he wanted to do. We should all be so lucky...

    March 7, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jayyoe Jelly Bean

    wow that is sad =[

    March 7, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Philip

    Lance Armstrong was born with an enlarged heart and we let him play. sheesh!

    March 7, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Marc Silberman, M.D.

    40% of paper sports physical forms for preparticipation physical evaluations are turned in incomplete. The entire process of 'screening' athletes has become an activity in pushing paper. Check out what schools are using in NJ,, a free service to handle and manage sports physicals electronically, online, and paperless allowing the health care providers to focus on actually performing a good history and exam, and if indicated, an EKG and ECHO.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Perry

    II recall guys in basic training dropping dead during PC (physical conditioning.) work outs. That was in the 60s, as we prepared to visit Vietnam. Those guys would have been in their late teens. All of those guys had gotten physicals back home where they had first been inducted. Life, more or less a coin toss.

    March 12, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Owen

    My condolences to the family, this is heart breaking news. I played baseball in Bulgaria with him years ago. Great athlete, ever better kid.

    April 12, 2011 at 3:33 am | Report abuse |
  7. shaleefa

    I can already tell that you are wuss

    March 7, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  8. Taylor

    Come on Luke, rugby has the fewest fatalities and injuries among sports played by teens. This could have happened in any demanding sport if it was a undiagnosed heart condition as is being reported. Rugby is one of the best sports for kids, as in it takes all shapes to fill a team (position for everyone) and it's low cost to equip the players. A mouthguard and boots.

    March 7, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  9. l

    Let me guess, you're a soccer fan, oh sorry "Football"

    March 7, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. Luke

    No I do mma, a real sport

    March 7, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  11. Trav202

    Oh please. Despite it's appearance to the casual observer, rugby is statistically a very safe sport. Yes a kid died while playing it, and that's tragic, but it could have just as easily happened on the basketball court. Do you know what sport causes the most catastrophic injuries (death or paralyzation) among teenagers? Cheerleading...

    March 7, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  12. Todd

    Football has more fatalities, so does boxing, or MMA, or even hockey. Not belittling this, but when you play in contact sports, sometimes, bad things happen.

    March 7, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  13. Luke

    MMA does not have more fatalities

    March 7, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jeff

    Looks like Luke needs to come out of his trailer a bit more.

    March 7, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  15. l

    WHats your record, and which organization do you fight in? I call BS cause every dumby in the world thinks he's an MMA fighter now just by watching the show

    March 7, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
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