ILNews

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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  1. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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