Coroner: Lewis' death was heart-related

Photo from USI Web Site
Photo from USI Web Site

By Ben Garbarek - bio | email | Twitter
Posted by Noah Stubbs - email

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - It was supposed to be the game of the year for both teams, but instead, it turned into a tragedy.

More than 4,000 basketball fans were on hand when Jeron Lewis was hit.

He was not by another player, but by an opponent he didn't know was there, a heart condition.

"They got called to a fall and the individual was unresponsive," EMT Jamie Hardin said. "When they arrived on the scene, he was breathing. They immobilized him, put him in the back of the ambulance and at some point during the trip to the hospital that's when resuscitative efforts were made."

Paramedics were called to the scene at 9:14 p.m. arriving two minutes later.

By 9:32 p.m., Lewis was on his way to the hospital and was pronounced dead at 9:52 p.m.

The coroner says Lewis died after going into cardiac arrest from an enlarged heart.

Kentucky Wesleyan College says a physician was on duty during the game as well as two trainers from each school, staying in compliance with conference rules.

"In basketball, basically the protocol is it's recommended you have a physician at your basketball games, or one on call for sure and also have the ability to get into contact with EMT's and get a quick response from them," KWC Athletic Director Gary Gallup said.

No ambulance was standing by at the Sportscenter during the game.

The athletic department says it's common to have an ambulance on stand by during football games, but not during basketball games.

"You can go to any of the schools here, you will find typically there are no ambulances found at basketball arenas and probably in most basketball arenas around the country," Gallup said.

"Usually, it's football games we're contracted out to standby," Hardin said. "I don't think we've ever in Daviess County stood by a basketball game."

The Kentucky Wesleyan College athletic director says it's too early to say whether Jeron Lewis' death will cause any changes to conference rules about ambulances contracted to stand by during basketball games.

The coroner says Lewis likely would not have survived last night regardless of what medical help was available at the game.

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