Cheerleader drops dead after team loses

1953: Diane Rinkes, 15-year-old cheerleader for East Lansing high school in Michigan, gave it her all for her team, but it wasn't enough. Her team lost, and then she dropped dead.

When I first read this story, I assumed that there must have been some kind of underlying medical condition that caused her death. 15-year-old girls don't simply drop dead for no reason.

But in a follow-up report it says that the Coroner diagnosed the cause of death as "acute shock and acute circulatory collapse... brought on by overexertion." He elaborated that Rinkes worked herself up into such a "tremendous pitch of excitement during the football game" that it caused her death.

So she died of over-excitement. You have to wonder if she would have lived if her team had won.

The Anniston Star - Sep 25, 1953

The Holland Evening Sentinel - Sep 25, 1953

     Posted By: Alex - Wed Sep 30, 2015
     Category: Death | Exercise and Fitness | 1950s

Granted that this was some sixty years ago, but isn't it customary for a coroner to not look too closely into a death that is not suspicious? The poor girl could have suffered from a broken artery in the brain by the description of her last words in the story.

Acute shock and circulatory collapse sounds like a blanket statement for "I don't know why she died."
Posted by KDP on 09/30/15 at 09:45 AM
Today the school & every player and coach of the team would be mired in civil suits for the next 20 years.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 09/30/15 at 11:26 AM
Anorexia perhaps, in its extreme it causes system collapse. Very sad for her family no matter the cause though.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 09/30/15 at 09:12 PM
how is it they "tan off the field" instead of maybe RAN?
Posted by sandeesandlz98 on 10/01/15 at 04:32 PM
I just learned about a young woman who died in a very similar way. Dropping dead during an athletic event. Cause of death was diagnosed as Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, which is an enlargement of the heart muscle cells. Totally asymptomatic until the person collapses, and it's the number one cause of death of young athletes.

So I bet that's what this cheerleader had.
Posted by Alex on 10/29/15 at 06:15 PM
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