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HomesingaporeSingapore Sports School fires badminton coach after probe into student's death reveals...

Singapore Sports School fires badminton coach after probe into student's death reveals safety protocol breach

SINGAPORE: An investigation into the death of Pranav Madhaik, a Secondary 2 student-athlete at the Singapore Sports School, has revealed there was a safety lapse as his badminton coach failed to check on his well-being before leaving the track. The coach has been served a notice of dismissal.

The 14-year-old, who was part of the school’s badminton academy and had aspired to be an Olympic champion, felt unwell following a 400m fitness time trial on Oct 5. The Singapore Civil Defence Force received a call for assistance at the school at about 6.50pm on that day.

Pranav was taken to the National University Hospital and he died on Wednesday (Oct 11).

In a press release on Saturday, the Singapore Sports School laid out the timeline of events leading to the boy’s death and the findings of the investigation.

After completing his time trial session on Oct 5 at about 6.26pm, Pranav reported to the badminton coach that he felt unwell. 

Time trials and conditioning sessions are a regular part of student-athletes’ training plans, according to the school.

The coach told Pranav to rest as he had previously reported being unwell but recovered after resting. 

Pranav rested at the side of the starting point while the coach attended to the time-trial data on his phone.

He subsequently left the track to brief other student-athletes on competition matters, not realising that Pranav was still resting at the same location. The coach then left the school premises after the briefing. 

The badminton coach should have checked on Pranav to ensure his well-being before leaving the track, the school said.

He did not account for all his student-athletes before dismissing them from training, which was not in accordance with the school’s safety protocols. 

“The Singapore Sports School takes this matter seriously. The coach has been served a notice of dismissal,” it said.

“The school is also reviewing and strengthening all its safety protocols, and emphasised to coaches and staff the importance of adhering to them.”

Related:

An Olympic dream cut short: Father of late Singapore Sports School student opens up on son’s untimely death

While Pranav was resting, he interacted with two other groups of student-athletes that walked by.

A few of them approached him and, according to their accounts, did not notice anything unusual with Pranav at the time.

The last group interacted with Pranav at around 6.35pm. About five minutes later, a track and field coach who was walking by noticed him at the side of the track and approached him to enquire about his condition.

The coach asked a student-athlete to get water for the teenager. After returning with water, the student-athlete made another trip to get cold water at Pranav’s request.

The track and field coach then assessed that Pranav had difficulty getting up even with help from other student-athletes, and activated the school’s boarding staff to assist at 6.45pm.

An ambulance was called at about 6.50pm and the school’s boarding staff called Pranav’s parents around three minutes later.

The ambulance arrived at about 7.02pm and transported the boy to the National University Hospital at about 7.19pm. Pranav was accompanied by the badminton coach, who had returned after initially leaving the school premises. 

Pranav was warded and given medical care, but died on Oct 11. The cause of death was cardiac arrest with antecedent cause of congenital malformation of coronary vessels, said the school.

The school added it met with Pranav’s parents on Friday evening and shared with them its findings.

“The school extends our deepest condolences to the family of Pranav, and is supporting the family in their time of grief.”

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