SPORTS KEN: Regrettable DAVRAA casualty

SPORTS KEN: Fred Lumba

FI lay the blame squarely on the organizers of the DAVRAA concerning the sorry and untimely death of a 12-year old athlete during the regional competitions for the Palarong Pambansa.

I am referring to Dep-Ed and the regional school authorities with jurisdiction over her provincial delegation.

As a parent, my heart grieves for Hadia Eronico, a volleybelle who wore the colors of Davao Oriental in the girls’ elementary division.

As news reports said, she was pronounced dead after being treated in the hospital for what attending doctors initially suspected was dengue. This was, after a detailed diagnosis, amended to severe pneumonia.

I cannot utterly comprehend why delegation officials – her coach and training staff specifically – did not notice Eronico’s state of physical condition as the volleyball team needed to practice regularly before going into the court to play.

Reports said the player from Ilangay, Lupon showed signs of her bad health status as she was coughing during the practice hours.

Clearly, there was a mishandling of the situation that aggravated itself because delegation officials failed to meticulously check the well-being of the participating team members.

I say this with authority because I am witness to several errors of judgment of many delegation officials in many of the Palaro competitions I have covered since the late seventies.

Severe cases of food poisoning are the major irritants including but not limited to stomach aches and diarrhea, cough and colds resulting to fever and flu which, to me, are basic issues that do not need to be emphasized.

What takes the cake is that, if I fully understood the news dispatch, is that concerned delegation officials might have considered Eronico’s case as a simple and basic health issue and, therefore, did not ring alarm bells.

I am not condemning the delegation officials’ omission as much as I would if this were a case of illegal drugs and human trafficking.

I am putting them on the spot because the Palarong Pambansa is an annual student sportsfest and that, by this time, organizers and delegation officials already know the core issues and concerns that hound and stalk them every year.

No amount of explanations nor by any stretch of the imagination – the display of medical certificates and waivers, etc. – will absolve those involved in this regrettable scenario.

Pardon me but I am inclined to think that Hadia was not attended to promptly and adequately, medically speaking.

Why was she not immediately put in the ICU? Did the doctors shake a nonchalant shoulder and diagnosed her situation as a simple case of coughing?

The Dep-ED central office cannot sidestep its responsibility, too.

There should be no finger pointing.

Parents of athletes will now have more than just second thoughts about sending their children to the Palaro competitions.

I call upon the good Sec. Briones to probe deeper and mete out culpability as it is deserved upon those who mis-handled this.

As the song goes: “When will they ever learn? When will they…ever learn?”

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