AJ Schlatter: College Linebacker Dies After Tonsillectomy

AJ Schlatter, who was a linebacker for the Portland State University Vikings, passed away on Sunday. According to a January 18 post, which is displayed on his father’s Facebook page, AJ’s death was likely related to a recent tonsillectomy.

James A. Schlatter confirmed his son had the surgery on Friday morning at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Following the tonsillectomy, he posted and update about the procedure and AJ’s recovery.

“Surgery went well… however, doc said it was more like carving out the tonsils then a surgical removal… keeping him a bit longer due to bleeding… they also ran into infection and had to drain it too.”

Later that same afternoon, James provided an update — which stated AJ was “waiting to be discharged.”

Although he was sent home on Friday and was expected to recover without further complications, AJ Schlatter was found unresponsive on Sunday evening at approximately 9:19 p.m. In a heart-wrenching statement, James shared the devastating news via social media.

“We lost our son tonight… I want to thank the efforts of the Canby Police and Fire departments, as well as the emergency staff at Willamette Falls Hospital. I failed my son tonight… I could not recessatate [sic] him nor did the best efforts by EMS and the emergency room staff.”

Medical examiners have not determined the young man’s specific cause of death. However, James said he believe his son “might have developed a blood clot after… the removal of his tonsils.”

Mayo Clinic reports a tonsillectomy is a fairly common procedure, which involves the removal of the tonsils. The routine surgery is prescribed for patients who are diagnosed with cancer of the tonsils, enlarged tonsils, recurring tonsillitis, or a severe infection of the tonsils.

Although the procedure is routine, there are several possible complications. Mayo Clinic lists the most common complications as adverse reactions to anesthetics, excessive bleeding during surgery, unexpected bleeding during the healing process, and infection.

AJ Schlatter’s death brings to mind the case of 13-year-old Jahi McMath, who suffered serious complications following a similar procedure in December, 2013.

In the media, Jahi’s procedure is commonly referred to as a tonsillectomy. Although removing her tonsils was part of the procedure, doctors at Children’s Hospital Oakland also removed throat and nasal tissue — as the teen suffered from sleep apnea.

As reported by Mercury News, McMath was conscious and responsive following the procedure. However, within hours, she was transferred to the pediatric intensive care unit — as she was coughing up blood.

According to reports, Jahi’s family asked about the bleeding and were told it was normal. Five hours later, the teen experienced cardiopulmonary arrest. Although she remained on life support, she was declared brain-dead on December 11 and again on December 13.

Doctors recommended ceasing the life support, as recovery from brain-death is simply impossible. However, the teen’s family refused. In their opinion, Jahi McMath is still very much alive and there is a possibility she will recover from her current condition.

The Los Angeles Times reports Jahi was officially declared dead by the Alameda County, California, coroner — who listed her cause of death as complications stemming from the surgical procedure. Although a death certificate was issued, the teen was eventually moved to an undisclosed location, where she remains on life support.

Despite the opinions of numerous neurologists, the McMaths insist Jahi is alive and responding to voice commands. The updates, which are posted on the family’s Facebook page, included photographs and video footage.

On Sunday, AJ Schlatter’s family, friends, and teammates also experienced a significant loss. The young man is described as a talented football player, who was also a true inspiration to everyone he knew.

[Image via Facebook]