Indiana Supreme Court won't review football death case

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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The Indiana Supreme Court will not review a Marion County case involving a 17-year-old ;s death following football practice in July 2001.

Justices denied transfer Thursday in Stowers v. Clinton Central, declining to vacate the Oct. 26 Court of Appeals decision that the school corporation, coaches, and athletic director were not negligent in the teenager ;s death. However, the ruling also stands that Marion Superior Judge Gary Miller erred by not including a jury instruction to describe the scope of school release forms.

Travis Stowers was a junior at Clinton Central High School when he collapsed during practice in July 2001 on a day when temperatures reached the 90s. He was treated by a team trainer before being taken to the hospital, where he died the next morning. Doctors determined his body temperature had reached 108 degrees.

His parents sued Clinton Central schools and the Indiana High School Athletic Association in 2002, claiming school officials disregarded rules limiting hot-weather practices. According to IHSAA guidelines, the first two days of pre-season practice must be limited to two, 90-minute sessions with a two-hour break between workouts.

A jury determined after a trial last year that the school was not negligent and was not liable for the boy ;s death.

In their appeal, Alan and Sherry Stowers also argued that neither they nor their son had assumed any risk and that Travis did not contribute to his death through his own negligence. The defense at the civil trial had argued that he waited too long to inform a coach he was not feeling well after appearing to have recovered from vomiting in the first of two practice sessions that day.


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