Jul 21, 2017
AED Delay Cited in Athlete’s Death

This past April, Star Ifeacho, a 15-year old Dunbar (Ky.) High School basketball player, collapsed during an open gym and was pronounced dead at the hospital. According to an article for the Lexington Herald Leader, the student-athlete’s family believes that he could have been saved if proper equipment and treatment had been more readily available.

“Star Ifeacho was a tremendous athlete and student who loved playing basketball at Dunbar High School. Sadly, this love of basketball turned to tragedy on April 26, 2017, while at an ‘open gym’ which was being monitored by the Dunbar coaching staff,” Louisville Attorney Sheila P. Hiestand, who represents Star’s estate and his mother, said in a statement. “During drills, Star complained to his coach that he was suffering from chest pain and it felt as though his heart was racing out of his chest. He was told to sit down. Star eventually sought treatment from Dunbar’s athletic trainer in the training room, where he collapsed.”

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After his collapse, it is alleged that there was a delay in using the automated external defibrillator (AED) that could have restored his normal heart rhythm. The family’s attorney claims the delay occurred due to the fact that the AED could not be found in its proper place in the training room.

“Although an AED was supposed to be present in the training room, it had been removed, causing a significant delay in providing life-saving treatment for Star,” the statement continued. “The autopsy has been completed, and there is nothing in the report to indicate that prompt use of an AED would not have saved Star’s life.”

A state medical examiner’s report explained that Ifeacho died from cardiomyopathy, an abnormality of the heart muscle. While the cause for this is unknown in Ifeacho’s case, it was expressed that the heart problem was possibly inherited. The report also said that a defibrillator had been used at the school at some point.

The attorney’s statement announced that along with the delayed use of the defibrillator, the EMTs, family, and press were initially supplied with a significant amount of misinformation. As of Monday, Star’s family was not pursuing litigation. The school declined to respond to the attorney’s statements.

“Star was a beloved member of our Fayette County Public Schools family and we continue to mourn his passing,” said District Spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall. “We cannot and will not respond to the media statements made by the lawyer for the Ifeacho family.”

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