Mother of late Drive player files wrongful death lawsuit
The mother of the late Grand Rapids Drive basketball player Zena “Zeke” Upshaw has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
Jewel Upshaw, individually and on behalf of the estate of Zena Upshaw, filed the lawsuit yesterday against the National Basketball Association, Detroit Pistons Basketball Company and The DeltaPlex in the Southern District Court of New York after Zeke Upshaw collapsed on the home court on March 24, according to court documents.
Jewel Upshaw, who is represented by Hilliard Martinez Gonzales, LLP and Ben Crump Law, filed the suit for “an amount to be determined by the trier of fact for her losses, as well as the estate’s losses, damages and harm, economic and non-economic, for exemplary and statutory damages, and for all costs, attorneys’ fees, expert witness fees, filing fees, pre- and post-judgment interest and such other further relief as the court may deem appropriate, just and proper,” according to court documents.
Per the lawsuit, Zeke Upshaw, 26, suffered a sudden cardiac death, or SDC. When he collapsed, court documents allege that the team doctor stepped out and was not present.
“For nearly four minutes, the team’s medical staff and personnel moved around and near Zeke’s body as it lay motionless on the court, during which time there (was) no sense of urgency,” court documents allege.
The lawsuit claims “no cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was initiated, no chest compressions were started, no oxygen mask was placed on his nose and mouth, no airway was cleared and secured and no defibrillator sensors and electric delivery patches were attached and secured to Zeke’s chest.”
The Grand Rapids Drive posted a statement on March 26, which was said to be provided by Jewel Upshaw: “After continued efforts from the medical team at Spectrum Health, Zena made his transition at 11:16 a.m."
Court documents state that Jewel Upshaw hopes the lawsuit will bring changes to the medical protocol, “where players can be treated and saved by well-trained and quick-response teams — response teams who are following detailed and robust life-saving written policies and procedures that have been practiced and memorized.”
The suit claims that there exists a “tragic secret inside the NBA”: the “well-known” and serious risk to the league’s young stars of suffering sudden cardiac death during a game.
Zeke Upshaw began playing in the NBA G League in 2016.