Brian Smart, 24, a high school athletic trainer who trained and mentored young athletes, tragically died on Sunday, May 5, when he suffered a cardiac arrest during the Philadelphia 10-Mile Broad Street Race.
Smart worked as an athletic trainer at the Darby Street School District. Coworkers say he was in excellent shape, and the heart attack was completely unexpected.
“He was in great shape, was running at a good pace for the Broad Street Run. He wasn’t showing any signs of any laboring, from what I was told. Just a shock,” Frank Nunan, athletic director of the Upper Darby School District, told a local news station. The school district also put out a statement saying that Smart was beloved by students.
Smart’s father also issued a statement through the school district, noting his son’s passion for teaching and working with students: “The world certainly lost a good one yesterday. Brian really enjoyed working in UD, working with you and the students of Upper Darby.”
Sudden cardiac arrest is often surprising when it happens to someone young and athletic, like Smart. However, it can happen to anyone at any time. The last person to die in the Broad Street Race was a 29-year-old athlete who collapsed shortly after crossing the finish line in 2007. Having an AED defibrillator on hand at races can save a person’s life in the event of a cardiac arrest. If the race organizers were negligent in preparing for possible medical emergencies, Smart’s family may have a legal case for wrongful death.