Heart malady blamed for recruit's death at boot camp
By Mark D. Faram
The Navy has released the name of a recruit who died Monday, a day after completing Recruit Training Command's Battlestations final training event.
"Recruit Andrew Adams, 20 years old, of Sarasota, Fla passed out and hit his head," said Lt. Matt Comer, spokesman for Naval Service Training Command at Great Lakes, Illinois on Wednesday. "His recruit division commander responded with first aid until medical personnel could arrive, but neither could not revive the recruit."
The Lake County, Illinois, Coroner's Office has determined a heart condition n enlarged heart caused the death of Seaman Recruit Andrew Adams, 20, of Sarasota, Florida, in early December.
Adams died Dec. 1 after collapsing in his barracks, just days after finishing the Battle Stations event. He was slated to graduate Dec. 5.
Adams suffered from an enlarged heart due to a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy, an abnormality that can diminish the heart's blood pumping capacity, the coroner determined.
Lt. Matthew Comer, spokesman for the Navy Service Training Command in Great Lakes, confirmed the cause of death had been determined, but said he could not release the actual cause, stating only that it was "a pre-existing condition."
Navy sources familiar with the findings confirmed Chief Deputy Coroner Orlando Portillo's report of an enlarged heart as the official cause of death.
Comer said the Navy's own inquiry into the death foundsays there is no indication that the training at RTC, including the strenuous Battle Stations event, his training at RTC contributed to the death.
What's unclear at the moment is if Adams' physical exam prior to entering the Navy should have discovered the condition prior to his entry into the Navy or if his strenuous end of training Battlestations event could have contributed to his death.
According to the American Heart Association, cardiomyopathy is tough to diagnose as often there are no symptoms of the disease until it is too late. It can cause irregular heartbeats, dizziness and fainting. Most often it's diagnosed because doctors know to look for it based on a history of the disease in the family.
It's not known if the malady ran in Adams' family. Attempts to reach his family for comment as of press time were unsuccessful Feb. 11.
Completion of The recruit training Battle Stations event, a physically and mentally tough all-night evolution where recruits fight to save their battle-damaged ship, is essentially the final exam recruits must pass to earn the title "sailor" After they complete it successfully, they are allowed to graduate. using damage control and firefighting skills learned during recruit training.
It's essentially the final exam recruits must pass before being given the title of "sailor" and are allowed to graduate.
Adams arrived at RTC on Oct. 7 and was slated to train to be an avionics technician at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, after his graduation.
About Mark D. Faram
Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.