TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A judge approved a $2 million
settlement Monday between Florida State and the family of Devaughn Darling, a football player who died during an offseason workout in 2001.
The state will issue a check for the statutory limit of $200,000
to the Darling family, who must petition the Legislature for the
remaining $1.8 million. The family must file a claims bill by Aug.
1 to have it considered during the 2005 legislative session.
The claim will be supported by the university under terms of the
agreement approved by Circuit Judge L. Ralph Smith. The parties
agreed to mediation last November.
The school also will place a memorial to Darling in its athletic
department, provide duplicates of photographs and video of his
playing time to the family, make replicas of the rings awarded to
Darling for the January 2001 Orange Bowl and the 2000 Atlantic
Coast Conference title, and maintain a scholarship endowment in the
Darling collapsed and died Feb. 26, 2001, of an apparent
"cardiac arrhythmia" at the age of 18. He was projected as a
starting outside linebacker going into the 2001 spring practices.
Darling's family members, including parents Dennis Darling and
Wendy Smith, sued the school in October 2002, claiming their son
died despite complaining of dizziness and chest pains during a
Although no specific amount of damages was included in the suit,
it asked for loss of earnings, prospective net accumulations and
medical and funeral bills in addition to pain and suffering.
The suit claimed Darling was deprived of water and other fluids
during conditioning drills.
It also said the school failed to provide sufficient rest
periods during the workouts, did not have adequate medical
personnel or equipment available, and failed to recognize that the
athlete was in distress.
Darling and his twin brother Devard learned they had a blood
disorder, known as a sickle cell trait, after a pre-football
physical before their freshman year at Florida State. The medical
examiner said the disorder may have contributed to Darling's death,
although no definite medical cause was cited.
Florida State officials then prohibited Devard Darling from
playing receiver for the Seminoles. He transferred to Washington
State and played for two seasons before being chosen by the Baltimore
Ravens in April's NFL draft.