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EX-HOCKEY PLAYER SUES UNIVERSITY


Virg Foss, Herald Staff Writer

Two years ago this month, UND hockey player Jace Reed collapsed from severe dehydration during a 10-kilometer road race as part of the dryland training workouts Sioux players were going through in preparation for the 1991-92 season.

Now Reed had filed a lawsuit against UND, head hockey coach Gino Gasparini and others, alleging that they were responsible for the accident that left him unable to play college hockey again, or pursue a career as a pro player.

Reed later was diagnosed as suffering from exercise-induced hyperthemia, or unusually high body temperature, along with hypotension, or abnormally low blood pressure.

What followed was nearly three months of hospitalization for Reed, who eventually underwent a kidney transplant, two liver transplants and a half-dozen other surgeries at a hospital in Rochester, Minn.

The Associated Press reported that Reed's suit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Grand Forks, asks for more than $1 million for medical expenses, and more than $50,000 for the "pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, fear and a loss of enjoyment of life."

Also named in the suit are UND assistant hockey coaches Jim Scanlan and Craig Perry, then-Sioux hockey trainer Chad Peterson, and at least two unidentified defendants the AP reported.

UND Athletic Director Terry Wanless said Saturday that the university had not yet been served court documents. "I haven't seen the papers, so therefore I have no comment," Wanless said.

Gasparini said he didn't learn of the lawsuit until Saturday. "I have not had the opportunity to view what was said, or what has been done, or to talk to the university or the Reed family," he said. "So I think it's best that I not comment right now."

Reed was only 200 yards from the finish line of the 5.2-mile run when he collapsed.

"I remember, seeing another teammate, in front of me and wanting to catch him," Reed told the Herald in December 1991. "After that, people said I sat down on a curb, but I don't remember."

Reed was transported by ambulance to United Hospital in Grand Forks, and later taken by air ambulance to Rochester on Oct. 4, 1991.

In the months that followed the accident, John Marshall and Ken Towers, both from Grand Forks, co-chaired a fund-raising drive that raised more than $30,000 to help the Reed family deal with medical costs.

The complaint notes that Reed and other hockey teams members were required to participate in the run as part of preseason training drills, the AP reported, and that UND failed to provide an adequate water supply before, during and after the race. The suit also alleges that UND failed to provide properly trained, on-site emergency medical and/or athletic department personnel. The suit states that Peterson, the hockey trainer, was at the finish line, but that done of the coaches was on hand.

Because of the lack of on-site emergency assistance, "crucial minutes" elapsed after Reed's collapse before bystanders summoned the ambulance the complaint charges.

The suit also says that coaches and trainers told hockey team members "to compete against other and to run the race as fast as possible," and that their "spots on the team and their scholarships depended upon participating in the race," the AP reported.

On Sept. 15, 1991, the day of the race, the high temperature in Grand Forks was 74 degrees, and the relative humidity was 100 percent. Reed's body temperature was 106 degrees when he was brought into the emergency ward at The United Hospital in Grand Forks that day.

Dr. Phil Marin of Grand Forks, one of the physicians who initially treated Reed, said at the time that the type of heat exhaustion Reed suffered was rare when temperatures were below 83 degrees.

"You stop sweating because you run out of fluids. Marin told the Herald at the time. "Then your core temperature goes up like a nuclear reactor. It goes running wild."

Reed, from Bovey, Minn., and a former high school hockey player for Grand Rapids (Minn.) High School, was 20 years old at the time of the accident. Reed, a 6-foot-2, 203-pound defenseman, was about to enter his third season of hockey at UND when the accident occurred.

Reed returned to UND last fall, this room, board, tuition and fees paid for by the Big Green Club, the official athletic fund-raising organization at UND.

While Reed was able to return to the classroom, he has not been able to return to hockey, or play other sports.

Source: Grand Forks Herald, September 5, 1993