23-year-old Kansas State University student-athlete, Samantha Scott reportedly died suddenly due to Lemierre syndrome, a rare, life-threatening infection.

Samantha Scott/K-State Twitter
Samantha Scott/K-State Twitter

Scott was a four-year member of the rowing team and the squad’s top coxswain this season. An architectural engineering major and a native of Fort Morgan, Colo., she was also an Academic All-Big 12 selection last season while leading the team’s 1v8 and 1v4 boats.

She started complaining of symptoms about two weeks ago and was initially thought to be suffering from tonsillitis. However, it turned out to be Lemierre syndrome.

What is Lemierre syndrome?

The bacteria typically responsible for Lemierre syndrome is Fusobacterium necrophorum (about 90% of the time), although a variety of bacteria types like Stapylococcus aureus, Bacteroides, Eikenella and Porphyromonas and several other agents may cause the condition.

The bacterial infection begins in the throat and spreads through the lymphatic vessels. Symptoms include sore throat and fever, followed by swelling of the internal jugular vein (IJV). Subsequently, pus-containing tissue moves from the original location to various organs, most commonly the lungs. Other affected sites may include the joints, muscles, skin and soft tissue, liver, and/or spleen.

It is poorly understood why this syndrome develops. It is treatable with prolonged courses of intravenous antibiotics (3 to 6 weeks).

“We are all deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Samantha,” added Athletics Director Gene Taylor. “The Scott family will remain in our prayers during this time, and we will provide all of the necessary support we can for their entire family and also the members of our rowing program as they cope with this devastating loss.”

Visit the family’s GoFundPage