WASHINGTON, N.J. — As a result of the tragic death of Warren Hills Regional High School quarterback Evan Murray, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association said Tuesday that their medical advisory and football committees will be gathering information “to determine whether new or different steps need to be taken to protect our student athletes”.
A spokesman for the state student athletic association also said that the National Federation for Student Athletics will undertake a similar review.
Murray, 17, died on Friday from a lacerated spleen after being injured in a home game. While head injuries have long been the big concern in contact sports, medical experts say that abdominal injuries can be much more dangerous.
“It’s not common but any trauma center will see a handful during the year,” said Dr. Rajan Gupta, chief of trauma and critical care at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson University Medical Center.
Murray is not the first teenage athlete to die from an abdominal injury on the football field. In 2008, 15-year-old Taylor Haugen of Niceville, Florida got hurt in a high school football game. He stumbled off the field and later died from a traumatic liver injury.
“We just don’t want anyone to have to go through that,” said Brian Haugen, Taylor’s dad.
Brian and Kathy Haugen have since founded the only non-profit in the country that works to raise awareness about the perils of contact sport abdominal injuries. The Haugens say they do not want to stop students from playing contact sports, but educate them.
“There are already many professional and college players who are wearing new high-tech equipment that is often unknown to secondary school athletes, and especially of course their parents and coaches. We believe that if word got out about this new high tech equipment, parents would want it on their child,” said Brian.
Medical experts say that knowing how to spot early signs of abdominal injury is also key. Symptoms to be aware of include: abdominal pain or left side of the chest wall pain, abdominal tenderness, left shoulder pain, bloody urine, nausea or fainting.
Because internal abdominal injuries can cause rapid blood loss, it’s important that they’re spotted and treated as soon as possible.