WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP - The death of a star high school football player has a community in mourning, and many are asking if such a death could have been prevented.
Warren Hills Regional High School senior Evan Murray suffered an injury during Friday night's football game. He collapsed a short time later and died at the hospital. The Morris County medical examiner found Murray died from internal bleeding from a laceration on his spleen. It was also discovered that his spleen was abnormally enlarged and more susceptible to injury.
According to expert Dr. Derrick De Silva, there could be several reasons why someone Murray's age could have had an enlarged spleen. Among them are mono, infection, leukemia or lymphoma.
Dr. De Silva never treated Murray, but understands how his death raises so many questions.
"The thing that always run through our minds is could it have been prevented? And it's very, very hard to say because if somebody doesn't go and complain about something...parents and doctors are not mind readers," says Dr. De Silva.
Dr. De Silva says that if Murray or other athletes don't show signs of fever, swollen glands or other symptoms, it can be difficult to determine if they are more susceptible to injury.
"Unfortunately [football] is a sport with a lot of contact, with a lot of trauma. And unfortunately it is a sport where these things happen," he says.
Dr. De Silva also says that patients typically do not feel an enlarged spleen on their own. He says it is important for parents to make sure their children have had their physicals before playing sports and to get any type of injury checked out as soon as possible.
Murray's wake will be held Wednesday at Safe Discovery Church in Washington Township. His funeral will be held Thursday morning at the church.