Drew Kleinknecht of the Gettysburg College lacrosse team experienced a serious heart arrest during a preseason session. During the practise, neither the trainers nor the students were present. Due to this, Drew’s parents filed a lawsuit for wrongful death and survival, accusing Gettysburg College of ignorance and asserting that there was a known risk of damage when the kids were participating in sports. When considering Kleinknecht’s prior outstanding and stable health as well as the little likelihood of a heart attack occurring, the court’s initial decision backed Gettysburg College (Kleinknecht v. Gettysburg College, 1992). However, the court overturned the judgement in 1993.

In this case, the court must determine whether or not the educational institution is required by law to put in place safety precautions for students participating in school-sponsored intercollegiate sporting competitions and activities. Drew’s parents believed that because the school aggressively sought out their kid to play lacrosse for them, he was not a private student there. Whether the institution should be held accountable for its insufficient or absence of preventative procedures as well as the acts of the school personnel and employees is the key question put before the court.

The court’s ruling was based only on a carelessness or foreseeability tort. It is incredibly likely that a student-player will experience a heart attack while participating in game-related activities. The court also considered precedents from cases like Alumni Association v. Sullivan and Leahy v. Sch. Bd. of Hernando County, Beckett v. Clinton Prairie Sch. Corp.

According to Leahy v. Sch. Bd. in the Hernando County case, the school has a responsibility to carefully monitor football activities since the schools have given the practise their approval. Similar to this, the school supported Kleinknecht’s lacrosse endeavours. Kleinknecht was actively sought out by the school, unlike the student in Alumni Association v. Sullivan, who was a private individual. The school owed him a duty of care because of this and because of the special relationship they had with him.

Truism: Because of foreseeability and the unique bond that Drew and the college had, the earlier ruling in favour of Gettysburg College was eventually overturned. The finding that the college’s actions were reasonable and deserving of protection under the Good Samaritan Law was likewise overturned. Public institution structures at the level of a pre-college, which are likely to be uneven, were used to compare the previous judgements. The institution had actively registered Kleinknecht to play intercollegiate lacrosse, creating a special relationship, which was the basis for the second and final decision.


Sullivan, 524 Pa. 356, 572 A.2d 1209, 1211; Alumni Association v. Sullivan (1990).

Gettysburg College v. Kleinknecht, 989 F.2d 1360 (1993).

Leahy v. Hernando County School Board, 450 So.2d 883, 885 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.1984).


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