Chris Daniels
--UD basketball player who died of a heart attack at 22

  On the morning of Feb. 8, 1996 the Dayton community was stunned to learn of the sudden death of 22-year-old UD basketball player Chris Daniels.
  Daniels, who had no known history of heart problems, was brought to Miami Valley Hospital at 5:02 a.m. in full cardiac arrest. He was pronounced dead at 5:31.
  Daniels, a 6' 10" 238-pound senior, grew up in Columbus and came to Dayton in 1991 to attend UD. He was in his fifth year, started the Flyers' first 20 games and was the team's second-leading scorer, with a 12.9 average. He led the nation in field goal percentage for several weeks.
  Daniels shared a house at 512 Lowes St. with teammate Jeffrey Brookins. Brookins was not at the house the night Daniels died, but another teammate, Darnell Hoskins, was. So was Daniels' girlfriend, Ratana Earle of Huber Heights.
  Earle said Daniels began shaking and thrashing in his sleep about 4:30 a.m., and she was unable to wake him. She woke Hoskins and called 911.

Cause of death:

Initial autopsy results were inconclusive. Montgomery Co. Coroner Dr. James H. Davis said there was no evidence of drugs or alcohol and that while Daniels had a slightly enlarged heart, that is not uncommon for an athlete of Daniels' size.
On Feb. 27, Davis ruled that Daniels died of natural causes from cardiac arrythmia, or abnormal heartbeat.

Heart failure in apparently healthy young athletes:

There have been many other incidents of apparently healthy young athletes dying, or nearly dying, from heart attacks. Studies in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 1995 reported that in younger athletes, 50 percent of sudden cardiac deaths are cuased by a congenital defect known as HCM, or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart that can cause irregular heartbeat.
It has not been determined whether Daniels had HCM or any other genetic condition which may have brought on his death. Samples of Daniels' tissue were sent to research laboratories in Utah and Washington DC for further study.

File created: 2-19-96
Sources: DDN 2-9-96; 2-28-96