The risks involved with high school sports are front and center once again following the death of Warren Hills Regional High School quarterback Evan Murray.

Evan Murray (Courtesy of Sevian Frangipane)

He died shortly after the team’s varsity game Friday night – the result of massive internal bleeding due to a lacerated spleen.

Eric Schwartz, president of the Athletic Trainers’ Society of New Jersey, said fatalities during or caused by high school sports are “extremely rare,” but there’s a natural risk to competing.

“Any type of hit or collision or fall or twist or turn can present themselves with an injury,” Schwartz told New Jersey 101.5FM. “And it’s not just our high school kids. We have middle school athletes. We have youth athletes.”

Game spectators said Murray had taken several hits during the matchup against Summit. The Morris County Medical Examiner’s Office noted Murray’s spleen was abnormally enlarged, making it more susceptible to injury.

Schwartz said concussions get most of the attention when it comes to school sport risks, but there’s “a host of other injuries and ailments” that threaten players when they step on the field, court or ice.

“Heat illness has its own concerns and problems,” he said. “Life-threatening cardiac conditions – they present themselves as well.”

Schwartz said the availability of medical staff on the sidelines, such as athletic trainers, can reduce the severity of injuries sustained during a game. Pre-participation physicals play a part as well.

“They give you a little bit of a blueprint as to what conditions and what problems have happened in the past,” he said. “And it helps athletic trainers and physicians and medical staff to provide preventative measures.”