The family of the Notre Dame student who died filming a Fighting Irish football practice when a hydraulic lift fell over last October is pleased the university is installing remote-controlled cameras to prevent a similar tragedy.
"The family thinks that's a very wise course of action, very much a safer environment for their employees," said Mike Miley, the uncle of Declan Sullivan.
Sullivan, a 20-year-old junior from Long Grove, Ill., died Oct. 27 when the hydraulic lift he was on fell while he was filming practice. The National Weather Service reported gusts of up to 51 mph at the time and the Indiana Occupational Health and Safety Administration is investigating why the lift fell over.
Notre Dame said Tuesday that it will no longer use hydraulic lifts for videographers at football practices and began installing the cameras at the practice fields. Sullivan's parents, Alison and Barry Sullivan, hopes other universities will take similar steps, Miley said.
"The family, specifically Barry, said he hopes other universities and sporting organizations take a look at their safety environments and follow Notre Dame's lead to see if there are other ways to make life safer for workers in other areas as well," he said.
Miley said he didn't specifically talk to the family about Notre Dame putting shamrocks with the initials DS in the middle on the boxes holding the cameras, but said the family appreciated the team wearing those shamrocks with the initials on their helmets last season and appreciated seeing the insignia elsewhere.
"It is something the family noticed and enjoyed seeing. It was a good way to remember him," Miley said.
Miley said the family is in talks with the university about a memorial for Sullivan. Miley said he doesn't know what that will be. The Rev. John Jenkins, Notre Dame's president, said Tuesday the school is "committed to memorializing Declan's zest for life and presence at Notre Dame in a meaningful and lasting way."
The family also is raising funds for a memorial for Sullivan, Miley said.
The family says on a website that Sullivan felt privileged to have a role with the football program.
"The grief we feel is tempered by the knowledge that Dec was doing what he loved in the place he most wanted to be," they wrote.
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