Coroner: Concussion, apnea killed student after fall at Edwardsville party

News-DemocratJuly 3, 2013 

— Madison County investigators now know what killed a Missouri college student who died after a fall at a New Year's Eve party.

Michael Heney, 20, of Chesterfield, Mo., was at an Edwardsville house on New Year's Eve when he fell forward and struck his head on the porch, sustaining a serious gash to his head and a broken nose.

His friends tried to take him to a Glen Carbon urgent care center, but it was closed. Unable to locate a hospital, they called 911, which alerted Glen Carbon paramedics. Heney was taken to Anderson Hospital in Maryville, where he was pronounced dead.

The initial autopsy did not indicate that the fall was the cause of Heney's death. An actual cause of death was delayed, pending toxicology and other test results.

However, the Madison County Coroner's Office has now determined that Heney died of post-traumatic apnea -- essentially, being unable to breathe properly due to a severe injury.

Coroner Steve Nonn said the apnea was caused by a combination of Heney's severe concussion and alcohol intoxication. He declined to speculate whether Heney would have survived if he had gotten to a hospital right away.

Heney was a student at the University of Missouri, a junior majoring in business.

Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at edonald@bnd.com or 239-2507.

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