Wrongful Death Suit Accuses School of AED Missteps

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The mother of 15-year-old Paul Laurence Dunbar basketball player Star Ifeacho, who collapsed and died during an open-gym session at the school in April, has filed a wrongful death suit against the principal, coaches, athletic trainers and the superintendent.

Boys’ basketball head coach Scott Chalk told the Lexington Herald Leader that Ifeacho was feeling light-headed on the day in question and was waiting in the athletic trainer’s room for his mother to pick him up when he collapsed in front of teammates and a trainer.

Ifeacho is reported to have succumbed to a heart abnormality, which may have been inherited.

According to the suit, roughly 15 minutes passed between Ifeacho’s collapse and the administration of an AED, constituting what mother Peace Ifeacho’s attorney Sheila Hiestand called a “significant delay,” contributing to Ifeacho’s death.

The suit claims that the AED had been relocated from the training room to the baseball field, delaying its potential use, and accuses athletic trainer Gabrielle Sombelon of negligence for removing it. It also claims emergency responders were not immediately called.

The suit further accuses Chalk, assistant coach Chris Armstrong, athletic director Donna Martin, principal Betsy Rains and superintendent Manny Caulk of failure to adequately supervise and ensure the proper standards of care.

The suit reads, “In failing to properly train, review and implement the protocols, the defendants, individually and/or jointly, are negligent per se, and as such plaintiffs are entitled to an award of liability.”

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