Anders Uwadinobi’s death was one in a million.
An autopsy showed that a rare injury sustained during a boxing match on Mohawk’s third floor last Sunday was what killed the 18-year-old freshman from the Bronx, a county coroner said.
A poorly-timed blow to the chest was what caused a cardiac arrhythmia, a rare injury which interrupts the flow of electrical impulses in the heart and which has been known to kill young athletes.
‘It probably would have been a fair amount of force, but it was the timing,’ said Broome County coroner John Prindle, adding that the fatal trauma happens at a time in the heart beat cycle when the heart is the most ‘vulnerable.’
Uwadinobi was boxing with a friend and using protective headgear and gloves in the common area of a suite with other people, witnesses said. He was transported to Wilson Memorial Hospital in Johnson City by Harpur’s Ferry, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
The case has been turned over to District Attorney Gerald Mollen’s office, a Binghamton University spokeswoman said. Mollen did not return repeated calls for comment.
Uwadinobi’s boxing partner and fellow student has yet to be identified by either police or witnesses.
A high adrenaline level, Prindle said, might have also contributed to Uwadinobi’s rare injury.
‘He was a very healthy boy,’ Prindle added.
Though cardiac arrhythmias, which lead to sudden deaths, are rare, he said there have been cases involving contact sport players, and that lacrosse players and boxers are classic examples of instantly fatal heart arrhythmias.
‘Here in Broome County, we have probably had ‘ in the 20 years or so that I’ve been here ‘ only two or three cases,’ Prindle said.
In 2004 a Cornell University lacrosse player died after being struck in the chest with a ball during a match against BU in Ithaca.
Medical officials on the scene tried to revive Uwadinobi with an automated external defibrillator. The tool is generally known as the only chance of survival for this type of injury, and BU is aiming to have one in every building on campus by 2010, in an adherence to state law that requires all public buildings to have defibrillators in place by March of that year, according to reports by the Press and Sun-Bulletin.
But while officials originally said that the boxing incident ‘ which is believed to have been between friends ‘ was not a common occurrence on campus, BU spokeswoman Gail Glover said that the matches may be more widespread than originally thought.
YouTube.com videos showing boxing at BU are the only evidence, and the University ‘has not received any reports’ of specific instances. The videos have since been removed from the fight.
In an interview with the New York Post, Uwadinobi’s father said his son was only boxing for ‘recreation.’
A message sent Thursday on B-line said two buses would be available to take students who wanted to attend funeral services for Uwadinobi in New York City Saturday. The Educational Opportunity Program, where Uwandinobi was enrolled, is organizing the trip.