Singapore Sports School fires badminton coach after death of 14-year-old student
The Singapore Sports School (SSP) has sacked a badminton coach after the death of Pranav Madhaik, a Secondary 2 student who felt unwell after a fitness time trial and subsequently died in hospital.
SSP had conducted investigations and, on Saturday, said that it had found the badminton coach should have checked on the 14-year-old to ensure his well-being before leaving the track.
The coach also did not account for all his student-athletes before dismissing them from training, which was not in accordance with the school’s safety protocols.
SSP said it is also reviewing and strengthening all its safety protocols and has emphasised to coaches and staff the importance of adhering to them.
The school on Saturday released a timeline of the events, noting that time trials and conditioning sessions are a regular part of student-athletes’ training plans.
On Oct 5, Pranav had completed a 400m fitness time trial at 6.26pm but felt unwell after.
He went to the badminton coach to report his condition and was told to rest.
The teenager rested by the side while the coach was sorting out the time trial data on his phone. He then left the track to brief other students and subsequently left the school.
At around 6.40pm, a track and field coach noticed Pranav resting and asked about his condition.
Water was given to the teenager but the track coach noticed that he had difficulty standing even with assistance.
The track coach activated the school’s boarding staff to assist at 6.45pm as the boarding premises were close by.
An ambulance was called at 6.50pm and arrived at 7.02pm. In between, at 6.53pm, boarding staff called Pranav’s parents.
The badminton coach returned to the school and accompanied Pranav as he was conveyed to the National University Hospital at 7.19pm. He was warded and given medical care.
However, he died on Wednesday. The cause of death was cardiac arrest, with antecedent cause of congenital malformation of coronary vessels.
SSP met Pranav’s parents on Friday evening and shared the findings with them.
Before that meeting, Pranav’s father Prem Singh, 51, had told The Straits Times: “If we have a proper system in place there itself, we could have prevented this type of issue. The SSP is producing national players, so training is intense.
“They should have something there itself to handle the immediate emergencies, rather than having to wait for the ambulance... by the time you get there, the athlete is no more.”
It noted the Sports School had earlier revealed the cause of death.
It said that, based on its vaccination records, Pranav had received his last dose of Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine more than 18 months ago.
The ministry added: “About 60 strokes and heart attacks happen every day, with or without Covid-19 vaccinations. It is highly irresponsible to link the two.
“For an unvaccinated person, the risk of Covid-19 infection leading to severe illness far outweighs that of vaccination.”