Jospin Milandu, a 20-year-old student at N.C. A&T in Greensboro, North Carolina died Monday, Aug. 16, 2010 after collapsing on the university track during a track team tryout. Milandu, a sophomore from Knightdale, N.C., was taken to Moses Cone Hospital, where doctors determined he died from complications of an elevated heart rate.

A&T said in a news release Tuesday that the tryout violated one NCAA policy and a number of university policies. That was the finding of a committee, which included the chancellor of the school, that was formed to investigate the incident.

Milandu was participating in a voluntary, unscheduled tryout, according to the news release. The university policies were violated “because this activity did not appear on the university’s schedule of athletic events.” The NCAA violation was reported to the NCAA by the school. 

“As a result of these policy violations, the university’s ability to respond effectively was limited,” the news release said. It was not indicated what specific policies were violated.

After the death, athletics director Wheeler Brown said that university policy calls for all students trying out for a varsity sport to have a complete physical on file and sign a waiver to participate. No trainer was present during the tryouts, he said.

At this point we don’t know the real cause of this tragic loss of a young life. Even at the high school level and below, athletics demand extreme physical exertion, especially in the intense heat of summer. Competition on a college level requires close and expert supervision.

According to one report, the tryout was supervised. However, the athletics director noted that there was no trainer present. He also mentioned that policy calls for a students to have had a physical. Those comments may indicate a couple of the policies that were broken.

It causes one to wonder whether this young athlete had some kind of medical condition that should have been revealed by a physical, and whether observation or assistance by an athletic trainer could prevented this sad event.

The chancellor of the school, Dr. Harold L. Martin Sr., has instructed the A&T’s athletics director to assume direct responsibility for all compliance matters related to the track program until further notice.

We hope that in any case, further investigation can shed some light on this incident. If changes in the oversight of policy, or the addition of policies can protect students in the future, perhaps other such tragedies can be avoided.

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