St. Lucia Sports Online received word that an autopsy was performed on 15-year-old national netball player Joanne Wilfred-Shepard. According to sources close to the situation, the sports enthusiast died as a result of complications of an enlarged heart. Joanne who resides in the sporting community of Canaries complained to other individuals of having pain in her chest last Friday 9th September, 2016.
The Young Lady was said to have been involved in a routine training session at one of the islands premier sporting institutions. According to sources her teachers at the Soufriere Comprehensive Secondary School earlier on the day in question, advised her to make her way home to rest. Unfortunately, Joanne never made it home that night. Reports are that the school has mobilized counselors to help with debriefing at the Soufriere Comprehensive Secondary School.
As such the conversation has begun. Many are of the opinion that young athletes should be given physicals or more robust medical examinations before entering training programs at schools. The situation does beg the question; how can a national youth player represent her country without proper medical screening at such a tender age? Though these protocols may be costly and death may be considered an aberration, it may be in the best interest of our young athletes to implement a “Joanne Rule”: all athletes who are desirous of getting involved in an intense physical program must undergo a medical screening before the commencement of this training. Yes! This may slow down the commencement of programs, but, is it worth it?