N.J. quarterback’s death raises concerns over football safety

In this Sept. 25, 2015 photo, Warren Hills Regional High School quarterback Evan Murray looks over the Summit defense in Washington, N.J. Murray, a three-sport athlete, died after suffering an injury on the field, school officials said Saturday, Sept. 26. (Larry Murphy/Lehighvalleylive.com via AP)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Services are scheduled this week for a high school quarterback in New Jersey who authorities say died after a hit on the field.

Doctors say Evan Murray died from massive internal bleeding and his death has raised new questions about the safety of football.

A seemingly healthy three-sport star athlete, Murray, of Warren Hills Regional High School, died after he was hurt in a game Friday night. The coroner says the hit cut Murray’s spleen that doctors say was already “abnormally enlarged, making it more susceptible to injury.”

His death is raising concerns for parents and students. Dr. Patrick Kersey from the St. Vincent Sports Performance Center is also the medical director for USA Football. He says what happened in New Jersey is very rare, especially to young men and women. Having an enlarged spleen can be caused by a virus or other illness, he says, which could have contributed to Murray’s death.

“The real issue that I’d like to get out to parents and kids: if you’re not feeling well — and that is a cough or cold or residual bump or bruise or significant injury — it’s important to have that evaluated and treated before heading out on the participation field,” said Kersey.

Kersey says if a doctor knew about the high school quarterback’s enlarged spleen, Murray would have never been on the football field on Friday,

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, which governs high school sports in the state, says 97 percent of New Jersey’s high schools have trainers on their sidelines. That’s the highest such coverage in the nation.

The Indiana High School Athletic Association by laws state it “strongly recommends that a licensed physician be present or on call during all contests” .

Murray’s wake is Wednesday and his funeral is set for Thursday.

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