USAR Statement on Hammerdorfer Death

For Immediate Release

March 7, 2011

Official statement on the death of Matthew Hammerdorfer

BOULDER, Colo. - On Saturday March 5, the American rugby community was shocked to hear of the sudden death of Matthew Hammerdorfer, a 17-year-old rugby player from Fort Collins, Colo.

Hammerdorfer collapsed during a match and went into cardiac arrest caused by a congenital heart defect.  He was airlifted to the Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, Colo. where he was tragically pronounced dead.  Hammerdorfer collapsed shortly after he absorbed a tackle, but the Larimer County Coroner, Kari Jones, said "That wasn't a contributing factor at all.  It was just ironic timing."

A junior at Poudre High School in Fort Collins, Hammerdorfer had an existing heart condition that caused him to have several heart surgeries throughout his lifetime.  Hammerdorfer was a well-liked and jovial young man that never let his heart condition limit what he wanted to do.  He was the captain of the Fort Collins Boys Rugby Club and played numerous other sports including football and soccer.

"The American rugby family feels the loss of Matt as if he was one of our own teammates, players, or friends.  To have such a young, bright player pass so early in life is inexplicably tragic.  Our sincere sympathies, thoughts, and prayers are with Matt's family, his teammates, and his many friends," said USA Rugby CEO, Nigel Melville. 

This weekend's College Premier Division matches will observe a moment of silence in honor of Matthew, his family, and his teammates.

Further Information:

Jarrod Beckstrom | Communications Manager | USA Rugby |