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. Jeff Wilson

    This isn't normal....

    Just last week...another teen died after making a basketball shot that won the game for his team...and I think I know what's going on here...

    I have seen more and more kids...some as young as 11 years old that are slamming Monster energy drinks and Red Bull energy drinks before they go and play sports.

    There is no regulation regarding these kids and being able to purchase Monster and Red Bull drinks. But the bigger question here is...why are kids 11 years old and older needing Monster and Red Bull to just go outside and play games? Simple...because they eat junk food all day long..and play video games after that...then you expect these same kids to go out and play sports...they need energy drinks just to muster up the energy to play a simple game.

    Now you have kids 17 years old having heart attacks. That's not normal here gang.

    March 7, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. FTC Resident

    Wow! So many thoughts and opinions that really don't have anything to do with Matt. He was a 17 year old boy who was active and like to play hard. He had medical problems in the past, but really wanted to play a game. He wanted to get out and play a rough sport that he truly enjoyed. Yes, hind sight will be a bit painful for the parents, but Matt left really just being a kid, and having a great time. This is no place to pass judgement or to get into a spat over MMA or BJJ, ridicule the school system, or the Doctors. This is about Matt. Good kid and he'll be missed. To the parents and friends, I am very sorry for your loss.

    March 7, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. LoopyCootiebrain

    300 million more to go

    March 7, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. pippinthehobbit

    I don't know about other states, but in North Carolina a run of the mill typical sports physical does not include an EKG. It is highly recommended, but not required.

    March 7, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mountain Mama

    There is a condition called Marfan Syndrome, which is characterized by being extremely tall and thin – and can result in a debilitating heart condition as well. If medical screenings for sports were mandatory, we could catch a lot of basketball/volleyball players, and swimmers (who are usually tall and thin) to determine whether or not they needed additional medical tests to verify Marfan.

    March 7, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Fiona

    A child who'd had three heart surgeries in the past playing the physically demanding sport of rugby? Maybe the questions and criticisms should be turned not toward the school, the coach, or the state, but toward the parents who played his participation.

    March 7, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. che-3

    Why are we losing ALL these FINE young men this early age in life and at this time? We have NOT even recovered from the lost last week NOW this one. When will this end?

    March 7, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Hear, Hear! I am against death. Please join me in wearing a black plastic bracelet to show that you, too, are against death...

      March 7, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. gretch

    God must have needed an angel. He went to his heavenly home doing what he loved best. Enjoy life to the fullest! Who knows when it will be our time. All the tests and precautions aren't the answer.

    March 7, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. 12929218

    Reggae + White kid = Pothead

    A likely overdose on marijuana, which weakened his heart, has lead to yet another death.

    March 7, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      I hope you are being sarcastic, because you are just plain wrong. No such thing as a marijuana overdose.

      March 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. sd Rugby fan


    March 7, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Cassandra

    My deepest condolences to this family. I have a son and can't even imagine what they're going thru. The question we need to start asking is, "Why are so many young athletes dying of sudden cardiac arrest in this day and age?" The answer: so-called energy drinks. Kids drink them like their water and they are not good for you!!! This poison should be removed from the shelves as they can cause heart damage. I recently took a CPR and AED class and these types of drinks are listed as the #1 reason why young people have heart attacks. Of course, the companies who market these caffeine-loaded drinks target young people. Parents, please don't let your kids drink this crap! It is not good for them, especially if they're athletes. Water or gatorade is best. Boycott these drinks now before we lose any more youngsters!!!

    March 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Wyothinker

    I really don't understand the cost factor for some form of cardiac screening of students. As a first responder, I need the practice giving 12 lead ekg's. The cost is the pads, the paper, and the wear and tear on a Lifepak 12 or 15. I would think any number of physicians would volunteer the time to read the ekg's. It wouldn't catch everything nor be a guarantee of being free from heart disease or defect, but it could be done at nominal cost and would catch a few ticking timebombs, before we pick them up off the gridiron.

    March 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • mom

      That is a really great point and idea. Unfortunately a genetic heart defect could happen to anyones family – even to familys who have no signs of the genteic defect. Ekgs could save lives!

      March 7, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. muhrvis

    I give my love to this boy's family; it is a terrible sad thing for them, but why are Americans so obsessed with kids who die during an athletic contest? Hundreds of children die every *day* due to disease, violence, accidents, and every possible cause, many of them PREVENTABLE through simple care. More lives would be saved with simple health insurance or not giving a kid the car keys than by anything we could reasonably do to save someone from a rare heart condition.

    March 7, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Clete

    Isn't Luke Latin for erectile dysfunction? Sorry, baby can't do it my dick is Luke.

    March 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TJ

    I agree tests and complete physicals need to be done before these kids play sports

    March 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
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