Cause of Student Death: Swept Under the Rug?

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The April 24 death of Edward Blatz, Jr., 21, a Georgetown University undergraduate, is certainly a tragedy for his family — and a cutting, lasting sorrow no parent should have to bear. Our condolences are offered to family and friends during this time of mourning.

The discovery of the death was made more poignant because on this sunny April Sunday people were walking past the fateful house at 1401 33 St. NW — some from the service at nearby St. John’s Church. At the corner, shut down by the Metropolitan Police Department, were police cruisers, an ambulance and a Homicide Division vehicle. With some sharp comments, a few justifiably upset neighbors shook their heads at the well-known student group house and its sad conclusion.

The Georgetown University Athletics Department released a statement April 24 quoting Kevin Warne, head coach of the lacrosse team: “Eddie was a great young man who was well-respected and well-liked by his teammates and the Georgetown lacrosse family. He was a very bright student and a talented player and words cannot express the loss we are feeling right now.”
Along with a general email to students, that was about all that Georgetown University seemed to want the media to report about the death.

The Georgetowner went on to report where that student lived — and the concerns of neighbors over drug and alcohol abuse. Several emails arrived in our inbox — from down the street and across the country. One of those emails came from someone well acquainted with student athletics and the lacrosse world.

The accusatory missive — while tough to hear right now — raises some basic questions and is reproduced, in part, here:

“Hoyas men’s lacrosse players partying after loss to Virginia, three OD, one dies, one revived by paddle defibrillator, another also hospitalized.

“Georgetown University is so tight-lipped on this as it is a clear demonstration of the complicit conspiracy within the quasi-elitist lacrosse community-culture cover up — just as are all schools, coaches, parents and players where the self-ordained immunity to rules violations and consequences tolerate the norm of ‘good boys from good families’ allowed to historically and chronically abuse drugs and alcohol. You needn’t be so disappointed in just Georgetown. This overlooking of the root cause of the problem is systemic and ubiquitous in lacrosse.”

The death of Ed Blatz need not be in vain — and we are not saying it is part of any so-called lacrosse insider culture, as described above. But his death should shine a light on any problems students may have with drugs or alcohol — and any exclusionary sports subculture that would be so selective of the truth. Drug abuse or alcohol abuse survive in the dark, not so much in the light.

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