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. Joe

    I really feel sorry for the young man and for his family, but he let this world as a winner and I am sure that he will be accepted as a star player in the untimate winning team in heaven.

    March 7, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • phorse

      What color is the sky in your world, Joe?

      March 7, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  2. Capt Obvious

    Well I guess this is better than him dying in the usual binge-drinking that follows Rugby games...

    March 7, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. LukeSlayer

    Luke, How many TapOut shirts do you have?

    March 7, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Luke

      None, but I do have a purple belt in bjj. Now go watch TUF and argue about who would win in a fiht between Brock and Kimbo like a good little UFC fanboy.

      March 7, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • LukeSlayer

      Why train in a style that is based on rules..

      March 7, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  4. Michelle

    You can not detect an enlarged heart on a physical exam. You can ask about chest pain. You can ask about fainting spells or passing out. You can ask about family history. But there is no way to know this unless you do an echocardiogram. And to do an echocardiogram for every student athlete in the country would be ridiculously expensive. Please do not misunderstand me as this is a terrible tragedy. But it is also very uncommon.

    March 7, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      How about a stress test on a tread mill at the doctors office?

      March 7, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. dale foster

    so much for the goverment propagadnda that we are all going to live so much longer ,we are more unhealthy and than our grandparents and parents ,young people today will be lucky to live to 60

    March 7, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  6. Matt E.

    Anyone else noticing more of these stories over the past 10 years?

    Hmmmm...could it have anything to do with these energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster???

    March 7, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Red Yankee

      Or could it be that 10 years ago you were not following the news as much? or that there are more news organizations competing for stories and more places to report the news? or that as we continue to move forward news from other parts of the country and world keep getting easier for us to find?

      March 7, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      Good point, probally an autopsy can make that determination.

      March 7, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      At least 3 in missouri this past year.

      March 7, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  7. AAS

    Rest In Peace Matt. You were a good guy and we had fun in Bulgaria. So sorry that this happend.

    March 7, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  8. meee

    Condolences to both families. .death is respector of age

    March 7, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  9. Philip

    All kids play sports...some by choice, and others when there's an emergency like running-away from a pervert. I'll bet my "1965 kid" gets away, and your "2005 kid" gets kidnapped. Why? You know why.

    March 7, 2011 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  10. Catherine

    It seems the young athletes only get in the news with sudden death. No doubt, there are many more young children/adults who die from an undiagnosed condition. Condolences to the family...

    March 7, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  11. Steve

    Amazing how people jump to conclusions. Do you people really believe his cardiologist released him to play rugby (or any physcial sport) with a turn your head and cough? You have no idea what went into his medical release to play and yet you comment like the story was about his poor physical.

    Here was a young man who died doing something he truly enjoyed and lost his life.I send my condolences to his team mates with him on the pitch that day and especially to his mother, father and siblings who have lost a son and a brother. Rugby is a brotherhood and Matthew will never be forgotten.

    March 7, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. Sakura

    Sad but it wasn't the sport that killed him. It could have happened playing basketball, riding a bike, or walking between classes like it did to a friend of mine. The fact is these conditions are rare, and most people who have them don't know they have them. Medicine justifiably assumes that if you look healthy, sound healthy, and feel healthy, you are healthy. Further investigation takes place when you area abnormal. Of course, if you have the money, you can get any test you want.

    March 7, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • mom

      These conditions are not necesarilly rare! Why do people keep saying that. They are not all diagnosed and so its immpossible to get a true statistic. The more and more we know about these heart disorders the less rare it is. Studies are even linking some SIDS cases to undiagnosed genetic heart disorders. The problem also is that many people have these diorders and live their whole life without an episode. That is what makes this so hard and scary.

      March 7, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  13. sad

    This is so utterly tragic. Stories like this make you want to hold on to your children so tightly.

    To the commenter that recommended CT scans of the hearts, that wont answer anything and you'll kill more with the radiation than you'll save 1000 times over. EKG's will answer nothing; the ekg of a young healthy athlete looks the same as an enlarged heart. An ECHO is the best test, but you'll have to screen millions to save 1, and many "borderline" cases will be declared abnormal though they'll really be fine. The interpreting physician will overcall abnormal out of fear of being sued if something happens. It's very sad, but with tens of millions of athletes, this will simply happen, and will continue to happen due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or subaortic stenosis. Too much cardio exertion at a young age, heart grows too much, like Hank Gathers. The real question is, how many hundreds of thousands will you put through a screening costing $300-500 each to save a life? There is simply no good clear cut answer. The cost is prohibitive, especially when considering how many millions of young athletes will be "banned" due to false positive results. How many will be forced out of athletics when they probably could have played? What will the ramifications be of this? Standard team physicials simply cannot pick this stuff up.

    Regarding this young man, my heart reaches out to his family and team. This is so tragic. It sounds like commotio cordis, a fibrillation that the heart goes into when it's impacted in a certain part of the electric cycle. This makes CNN stories every year or so, and it's always tragic.

    I'm a physician, do emergency medicine, don't do screening athletic physicals, but I'm a parent and will not be getting EKG's or ECHO's for my children.

    March 7, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  14. Joe

    Uhh oh.. Here come the bleeding heart Liberals. Time to cancel all sports.

    March 7, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Are you saying the right is heartless.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bob

    This is why I joined the chess club instead.

    March 7, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
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