Wayne Jones III came to the Tennessee State football program as a walk-on redshirt freshman defensive back. According to reports, during a non-contact practice on November 7th, he was returning the ball to the assistant coach after a backpedaling drill when he suddenly collapsed. 911 was called at 4:35 p.m. Jones was brought to the hospital and later pronounced dead at 5:33 p.m.
The reason this has come back up in the news is because according to autopsies and eyewitness reports, Jones suffered a cardiac arrest due to scar tissue in his heart but did not receive adequate care before he was brought to the hospital. His family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Tennessee State and seeking $5 million for damages.
According to the lawsuit, “No assistance was provided to him, and an unreasonable period of time elapsed before anyone approached him or attempted to provide any help.” The big thing I picked up on was also according to the lawsuit there was not an automatic external defibrillator (AED) readily available at the practice even though NCAA regulations are clear that football staff should have one at all practices during the season.
Given that cardiac arrest is not uncommon among athletes, there is a reason the NCAA established a regulation for AEDs to be present. A person can survive a cardiac arrest if CPR and defibrillation is done quickly, but if nothing is done before 5 minutes, the victim typically will not survive. The suit filed, said that there was an unreasonable time where Jones was lying before anyone approached him, which concerns me whether anyone there even knew enough about cardiac arrest to suspect it.
I do not know the full situation, neither am I a lawyer, so I will not comment on how I think the result of the lawsuit should turn out, but I do hope that TSU has learned from this experience and has an AED available at all sporting events and practices. AED.com donated a LifePak CR Plus to TSU shortly after the initial incident to help them be better prepared in case something should happen again.
I also hope that other athletic programs will see this incident and reevaluate the precautions they take. If there are not AEDs readily available, there are AED sports packages that are put together to specifically meet the needs of athletic programs. One death from cardiac arrest is too many, especially when a little preparation can help prevent it.
Post by Chris Nelson