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Lawsuits & Litigation

Northern Kentucky High School Hit with Lawsuit After Student Athlete Collapses and Dies

— November 29, 2020

St. Henry District High School, the Diocese of Covington, and St. Elizabeth in Northern Kentucky were recently hit with a lawsuit over the death of 16-year-old Matthew Mangine.

Losing a child is hard, even harder knowing that their death could have been prevented. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened to the family of 16-year-old Matthew Mangine. A Northern Kentucky high school recently came under fire in a lawsuit after Mangine collapsed during soccer conditioning. Tragically, he died on June 16. The suit names St. Henry District High School, the Diocese of Covington, and St. Elizabeth as defendants in the suit. According to the suit, “a defibrillator was not used while Mangine, a junior on the soccer team, was suffering a cardiac episode.”

Brown and gold gavel; image by Bill Oxford, via
Brown and gold gavel; image by Bill Oxford, via

Under Kentucky law, AEDs are not required for athletics. However, they are “required by KHSAA to be accessible within three minutes of any practice or game.” The suit notes that while St. Henry has three AEDs, “there wasn’t one on site of the soccer conditioning.” What happened, though? How did Mangine die? What does the coroner’s report say? According to the lawsuit, “Mangine’s chief complaint at the time of his death was cardiac arrest.” However, “an autopsy by a Kentucky medical examiner ruled the cause of death undetermined…and the toxicology report tested 63 substances, which all came back negative.”

During the 911 call, chest compressions were administered. However, during the call and in the incident report and coroner’s report, it’s not mentioned whether or not an “AED was used once EMS arrived.”

During a number of interviews regarding the matter, many medical experts, including doctors and athletic trainers, said AEDs save lives. Three experts “said that if an AED is used within three minutes of collapse, there’s a 90% chance of survival.” One even noted a report from the American Heart Association that “recommends three-minute response as a guideline.” Dr. Riana Pryor, one of those experts, chimed in and said, “For every one minute that is delayed, you reduce your chance for survival by 10%.”

In addition, the suit states that “published research shows that if an AED is applied to an athlete in the first three minutes, survival rates are close to 90 percent.”

As a result of the tragic incident, Mangine’s family is seeking damages for “gross negligence, wanton and reckless disregard and loss of affection and companionship, since Mangine was a minor.” Additionally, they are hoping that filing the suit will draw attention to the dangers of not having AEDs readily accessible for another similar tragedy does not happen in the future. 


Wrongful death lawsuit filed following collapse of St. Henry soccer player in June

Lawsuit: Defibrillator would have saved high school soccer player’s life

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