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. mom

    Sad, I agree at this point you cannot test all kids, but you could add to the physical questions about family history of fainting, chest pains, and sudden death and if you answer yes then you should have an EKG. I am sorry but my son was diagnosed with Long QT at 6years old. He is big string athletic and healthy. If undiagnosed he might have been one of htese statistics and would be trajic to me! So to save one LIFE is important ! Imagine if it was your child! This is a really hard and complicated subject that is getting more and more recognition everyday and I am glad! I new nothing of this 2 months ago. I am amazed at how much I didnt know about life and children being in athletics.

    March 7, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  2. GoodAdvice

    Come on people. This week kids are dying in mass during sports. Before that they were getting stolen by your neighbors. Before that they were being bullied too much. Before that they were all getting pregnant. Before that they were all choking themselves. Before that they were all being touched by perverts. Before that they were all committing suicide. Before that they were all too fat.

    You should look up a word to help you through the day. It's called "sensationalism".

    March 7, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Sad

      Agree. I wish there would be this type of ire when a 16 year old dies in a car accident or from a drug OD. This happens hundreds of times more often, is even more preventable, yet no one says much. Epidemiology works on the basis of testing $ per life saved. It's why we do colonoscopies at 50 instead of 40. Too much cost, too many false positives, and while I'd like to think that any life saved is worth a billion dollars, the cold hard facts are against that pie in the sky notion.

      March 7, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dr Chris Cooper

    We need more government intervention and ban all children's sports!

    March 7, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. lvanboven

    Condolences to the family and friends of this young man – a sad tragedy.

    March 7, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. momof2

    Sometimes these things are unavoidable. A 6th grader in my town just collapsed in gym class a few months ago and was PNB. She was resuscitated with immediate CPR and an AED which was available near the gym. The cause was endocarditis caused by an infection. No cardiac diagnosis, no previous history, nothing a physical or testing would have shown. Just a fluke. The main thing is having people trained in CPR/AED and AEDs available at all events. Sports, gym, field trips etc... And if your child is ill, let them rest and be back at 100% before resuming physical activity.

    March 7, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • PreventableDeath

      As momof says, the key is that the device be THERE, not ten minutes away, as ten minutes is literally the time between life and death.

      March 7, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. PreventableDeath

    What most of these stories make clear is that schools should gather the loose change from their budgets and have a defibrillator at their athletic events if there aren't going to be EMTs present. A thousand bucks is in the noise, and as some above have noted, these events are not that rare. It is not knowable how many of these atheletes could be saved, but general defibrillator experience suggests it would be a significant fraction.

    March 7, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  7. StepUp

    My heart goes out to all affected & I believe that includes all w/in this blog also. Maybe it's time we boycotted the way our food is compromised completely. Hydroponic tomatoes that aren't even red, oranges that are waxed with orange coloured wax, Kentucky Cloned Chicken. Where does it all stop all in the name of making an extra buck our health is being destroyed at an incredible rate as a result. Look outside the box, read between the lines or be doomed to fall between the cracks.

    March 7, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      I hear that and raise you to engineered corn,wheat and barley. Farm raised fish Where do we start. They are coming up with more and more engineered, drought and bug resistant. Labels stating the origin at the least.

      March 7, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  8. Adam

    You never heard of kids dropping dead like this 20 years ago.

    March 7, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • keef did

      March 7, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Ray

      wrong Adam,, we certainly have

      March 7, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • mom

      Yes Adam, the thing is today we know why! Thats why alot of schools do have AEDs nearby. The problem is u need someone who knows what they are doing. So everyone go out and get trained on CPR/AED. You never know who u might save. Possibly a loved one. They shold offer this course during health calss at Jr and High School level!

      March 7, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • JDavis

      You didn't hear about because it wasn't all over the news. I lost 2 brothers to ARVC (heart disease) in 1991 and 1996. They were not in the news because they were not playing a game in front of hundreds of people. One (16 yrs old) died playing tennis with a buddy and the other (37) at work. It happens all the time all over the world.

      March 7, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cassandra

      That's because they didn't have the "energy drinks" our kids our privy to nowadays. These drinks are loaded with caffeine and should be taken off the market because they cause heart damage in our young children who suck them down like they're water!

      March 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. kangaroo

    3 heart sugeries? Why is he playing hard sports?

    March 7, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. keef

    when will the government wake up and finally step in and ban our kids from participating in organized sports!!!!?

    March 7, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      We are still in the getting them to wake up mode.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • che-3

      Oh Please, get it together will ya?
      You will BLAME Pres. Obama and call him SOCIALIST if he advocates that ALL American school children should get a FULLY, thoroughly Medical Checkup every 6-months to avoid such tragedies or these sudden deaths plaguing us NOW.

      March 7, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      @che-3 I am saying that preventive is good. Just cannot get the whole government to agree on anything. The government as a whole.

      March 7, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Izzisgirl

    Here in Pennsylvania, every child has to have a physical form filled out at the beginning of the school year and the physical has to be less than one year old, though it doesn't include an echo or EKG. Is this not the case in all states?

    March 7, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Yes Missouri does, but that quick look does not reconize a heartt murmur? or something serious.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ray

    How awfully sad so you.., truth is, there are genetic heart diseases, which are not easy to screen for that effect cardio systems of the very young like this poor kid. One of my best friends son is just turning 25, and waiting for a transplant. a few years ago, before this started show up in him, you would never know. To those who makes jokes of this,, one word: repulsive..

    March 7, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  13. Gerry

    Did he die?

    March 7, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tom

    Every child on a school sponsored sports team should have to get a physical at their own expense. I don't want my tax dollars paying for this garbage. Nobody forces anyone onto a sports team. They could just take P.E. instead just like I did where there are plenty of healthy activities for all types of people.

    March 7, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ed bailey

    Years ago a popular song described sad thoughts about mans future if we keep up certain unhealthy lifestyles. The first lady understands this,rush limbaugh and many other worthless hate mongers are unaware because they will admit they are the problem. Our youth are a product of our western lifestyle. It isn't looking to good folks.with hundreds of prescription drug overdose deaths per year per state is an indicator of how well the government and our health care and pharmecutical company's sleep together. Has steroid use/abuse seeped siliently into the core of these victims of our ideal western life.
    Our kids! Hate mongers like limbaugh would never know because he was to busy popping another little helper. Widespread secret use of enhancing chemicals is what makes America.lying about it is a vigorous and demanding American past time.the government isn't truthful,church's lie to cover up child abuse,pro athletes admit how they broke a record,fat chance! Its all as American as apple pie.we need to reverse this evil but the devil is us and Rush you and all like you try to blame Mrs Obama for these kids deaths so another sicko/psycho like you can lead this country into the black hole even farther.

    March 7, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
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