Clearly we live in a time when often there is a rush to judgement following a tragedy because someone or some group needs to be blamed.

Rational thinking and fairness goes out the window replaced by a somewhat frenzied mob approach to what is often perceived as an out of control situation. The more preferred approach is too often take a step back and let things play out because time sometimes allows for an outcome derived from information and not emotion.

Evan Murray (Sevian Frangipane)

Last weekend an almost unspeakable tragedy occurred when 18-year old Evan Murray died as a result of playing in a football game for Warren Hills Regional High School.  Murray was a very popular three-sport standout and honors student whose best days seemed ahead of him. Instead his family, friends, school and community has been devastated by a life taken way too soon.

Over the weekend as news of Murray’s death spread I heard comments from many different circles who were ready to place blame and point fingers without knowing anything except what they had read or heard via social media.  It started with coaches and then quickly spread to athletic trainers, team doctors and finally the game of football itself which by its nature is a rough and sometimes dangerous sport.

By now we have learned that an autopsy revealed that Murray died of massive internal bleeding from a lacerated spleen which was enlarged and much more susceptible to injury.  It appears he took a hard hit just before halftime and after walking off the field later collapsed and was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he died.

I listened to a doctor explain Monday that the enlarged spleen could have been caused by a virus like mononucleosis or a bacterial infection and it’s not really detectable in an exam.  In the case of Murray his death has been ruled an accident and while hard to except that is the simple fact.

We have come a long way in the way young athletes are cared for as athletic trainers and doctors put the health of today student-athletes first and foremost.

Old-timers like me laugh about what is was like in our day when coaches were also the first line of medical care and getting your bell-rung was treated with an ammonia cap broken under your nose.  Of course nobody can guarantee that what happened to Evan Murray won’t be repeated. We can only hope and pray it won’t.