As we reported earlier this week, the death of Stanford University volleyball player Samantha (Sam) Wopat has shaken the campus, and the mystery surrounding Wopat’s cause of death has drawn a lot of interest.
19-year-old Wopat was admitted to a local hospital on March 17th after experiencing a medical emergency of unspecified origin at her university residence. She lingered on for eight days in the intensive care unit before she succumbed to whatever ailment originally claimed her. Since her death, Wopat’s cause of death has been a matter of great interest, likely in part because an athlete dying in her prime is very sad and unexpected.
However, an ambiguous statement on the part of the school also probably sparked an interest in Sam Wopat’s cause of death. Initially, Stanford’s athletic director Bob Bowlsby simply said:
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Sam Wopat. She was an integral member of the Stanford athletics family and a tremendous student and athlete. Stanford University and the women’s volleyball program have lost a wonderful young woman.”
While many would have just skimmed past the lack of information, Stanford’s assistant vice president of university communications Lisa Lapin later released another statement that appears to have piqued interest in Sam Wopat’s cause of death. Lapin said:
“Out of respect for the family’s privacy, we are deferring to their wishes and will continue to do so. It will be the decision of the family as to what, if any, information to share and when.”
Along with her twin sister Carly, who survives her, Wopat consistently ranked highly as an athlete both at her high school and university and on teams outside school athletics. Wopat was a nationally ranked athlete, playing on three junior Olympic volleyball teams and traveling to Thailand to compete in one such tournament. She is also survived by two younger brothers and her parents.