Pole vaulter, 19, died of head injury, coroner says
“Medical examiner determines cause of death for O.C. athlete.”
A 19-year-old pole vaulter from Huntington Beach died of a blunt impact injury to the head, the San Diego County Medical Examiner has determined.
Leon T. Roach III was taken to Scripps La Jolla Hospital Thursday night after he missed a landing mat and hit his head on concrete while practicing at UC San Diego. Roach lost consciousness immediately, and was declared brain dead Saturday afternoon.
Christyn Hendrick, his older sister, said on Sunday that the family had discussed whether they should feel bitter about the accident, but decided against it. “He died doing something he loved, and he is with the Lord now,” she said.
A memorial service is planned for 5 p.m. Saturday, she said, with the location yet to be announced.
Roach, 19, graduated last year from Marina High School and came from a family in which pole vaulting was a tradition. His father, Leon Roach II, was involved in the sport in college, and his older brother, Curtis Hendrick, was also a success at Marina High.
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