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Swimmer Fran Crippen's Death the Latest Sports Tragedy

By John Cave Osborne |

Fran Crippen

On Saturday, a 26 year-old member of the US national swim team lost his life during the FINA Open Water 10-kilometer World Cup in the United Arab Emirates. Fran Crippen, a native of a Philadelphia suburb, failed to finish the race and was found dead in the water nearly two hours after the race had ended.

It has been speculated that water temperature may have been a factor. The magazine Swimming World reported it to be in the mid to high 80s, four degrees higher than deemed acceptable in a pool. The magazine also reported that several swimmers were treated for heat exhaustion after the race.

Regardless of the details, one fact remains. The Fran Crippen tragedy is only the latest in a recent outbreak within the sporting world. Two Saturdays ago, Rutger’s football player Eric Legrand was paralyzed from the neck down in the fourth quarter while making a tackle during a kickoff return. The week before that, TJ Lavin, a BMX legend, as well as the popular host of the MTV show Challenge, suffered a gruesome crash during what was to be his very last BMX event ever. Both instances have many parents scratching their heads, wondering whether or not some sports are simply too dangerous for their kids to play. We’ve asked that very question here at Strollerderby, as has our Babble colleague Katie Allison Granju in her blog Home/Work.

We’ve asked it, alright. But we haven’t really answered it — at least not definitively. So today, I thought I’d give you my take.

While these tragedies make my heart ache to its very core, they do not, in any way shape or form deter me from the following unspoken commitment I’ve made to my children. All four of them are free to participate in any legitimate sport he or she so chooses and in so doing, will have 100% of my support. And while I am greatly saddened by what happened this past weekend, and while I hope swimming officials will leave no stone unturned in deciphering exactly what went wrong, I would no sooner let Crippen’s story preclude my kids from the swimming pool than I would let the story of an automobile accident preclude my kids from the car.

Life is dangerous. There are no guarantees. It’s just part of the deal. But once you start letting the potential for bad things steer you away from good ones, you are no longer living life as effectively as you could or should be. At least that’s what I think.

Photo: AP

More posts from John Cave Osborne:

Say What? Average Teen Risks Deafness Thanks to iPod Use
Mama’s Meal Fueled Texas Rangers to First Ever World Series Appearance

Joy Behar and Rod Stewart Discuss Sarah Streeter — the Child He Put Up for Adoption

Pesticides and Chemical Contamination Common in Fruits and Veggies our Kids Consume

Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld Calls Work-Life Balance Misnomer
Japanese Governor’s Paternity Leave Shows Just How Far US Dads Have Come
2-Word Reaction to Willow Smith and “Whip My Hair”
Don’t Let Your Kids Pull a Steve Bartman
Ad Campaign to Sell Dads on Fatherhood
World’s Smallest Mom Next Reality TV Mom?
6 Tips For Making Children’s Virtual World a Safer One
Teens Use Condoms While Adults Rely upon Double Standard

visit John Cave Osborne’s personal blog.
visit John Cave Osborne’s book website.

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About John Cave Osborne


John Cave Osborne

John Cave Osborne is a writer whose work has appeared on such sites as Babble, TLC, YahooShine, and the Huffington Post. John went from carefree bachelor to father of four in just 13 months after marrying a single mom, then quickly conceived triplets. Since then, they have added one more to the mix, a little boy they named Grand Finale. Read bio and latest posts → Read John's latest posts →

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8 thoughts on “Swimmer Fran Crippen's Death the Latest Sports Tragedy

  1. Amy says:

    I don’t understand the two-hour lapse in finding her body!?

  2. Amy says:

    HIS body – sorry!

  3. John Cave Osborne says:

    @Amy — you know what? i didn’t either. except that maybe the event is so long that they didn’t think of anything until the slowest of swimmers had finished. and by then, since it was open water, the body had floated significantly off course, maybe? i was as confused as you. so sad. very tragic, indeed.

  4. Kevin(TheDADvocate says:

    John, You are absolutly right. I had the misfortune of being told I couldn’t play football and was eventually told I could no longer wrestle. These were poor decisions on my parents part as they pulled me away from the only sports I had an interest in and drove me away from sports altogether for quite a long time.

  5. Linda says:

    It’s an open water swim. If you go under, no one knows. I swim open water and the distance is not terribly long and that water temp is downright warm. I’ll bet when they investigate they’ll find he died in the water of something other than drowning (like a heart attack or stroke or something.)

  6. Linda says:

    OIC, they’re saying the water was TOO warm.

  7. Christine says:

    Any open water swims in Australia are monitored with a chip in the mandatory swimcap as well as officials on sea-doos watching for strugglers. Wonder if the event couldn’t have been organized better.

    (and who the f**k would even consider pulling their kid from swimming because of something like this? The more exposure they have to water, the SAFER they will be!)

  8. LogicalMama says:

    Don’t swimmers have a boat following them in open water swims?

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