The Notre Dame Athletic Director says it was an “extraordinary burst of wind” that gusted and toppled the automatic lift from which Declan Sullivan was taking pictures. Declan Sullivan, a student at Notre Dame, was hoisted above the field as his job was to film the Notre Dame football practice. A wind gust of approximately 51 mph, on an already windy day, toppled the tower on which Sullivan stood, killing him in the process. The Athletic Director of Notre Dame, Jack Swarbrick, promised a full investigation, though failed to say who was responsible and why a student was placed in danger.
Notre Dame student Declan Sullivan was killed when the automatic lift he was taking pictures from was toppled by a strong gust of wind. It had been a windy day already and the decision of the Notre Dame Athletics Department was a dubious decision.
Placing a Notre Dame student 31-feet up in the air for the purpose of filming the Notre Dame football team at practice is questionable at best and criminal at worst.
Notre Dame is not the first university to place a student associated with athletics in danger. It is doubtful that Notre Dame will be the last, as this is a cycle that has been repeating itself for several decades. After all, winning a ballgame and selling tickets are far more important then the life of a bright university student. Didn’t you know it’s all about the money?
I don’t mean to put down women’s sports in any way; however, I challenge the reader to try to recall the last female athlete (or anyone associated with women’s athletics) who died as a direct result of the schools athletics department.
For better or for worse, women’s sports simply don’t bring in the type of money that men’s sports do. Thus, there is far less pressure on the female athlete or team member than there is on the male counterpart.
Forget for a second what happened at Notre Dame and the death of Declan Sullivan. The problem of negligence and knowingly putting students at risk goes all the way down to to High School.
Olivier Louis, a 15-year-old Wekiva High School football player, died during stretching exercises from what the coroner described as “exertional sickling due to sickle cell trait and heat stress.”
I have to question the medical examination this child went through in order to join the football team. Was it performed by a licensed doctor, or did the doctor just look the other way because football is so damn important in life?
This is the problem that has developed due to ridiculously high salaries paid to professional athletes. This is the problem that has developed due to schools “selling out” entire stadiums. This is the problem of a society that often sees athletics, rather then academics, as its way to a better life.
Was it necessary for Declan Sullivan to be 31 feet up in the air, taking pictures of a football team practicing, on an exceptionally windy day? A day that was seeing wind gusts as high as 50 miles per hour? No, absolutely not!
This is fully the fault of Notre Dame and its Athletics Department for placing a student in a very dangerous situation. From personal experience, I can tell you that many construction sites will shut down during high-wind days.
There is too much money at stake for things to suddenly change from the status quo. What I do think is that the amount of time and energy spent by schools all around the United States would be put to far better use if focused toward academia instead of sports. Believe it or not, sports are a recreational activity, or at least they are supposed to be. We should be rewarding the brains over brawn, and in the process we will likely save countless lives.
This won’t happen, however. We’ll mourn the death of Notre Dame student Declan Sullivan, there will be a lawsuit or three and soon enough we’ll forget this incident and be back to business as usual.