Contestant collapses and dies after winning bug eating contest

To some, the prospect of winning a contest brings out their competitive nature. While at the end of most contests, clear winners and losers, are established, in most cases death is not a part of the equation for individuals in either of those groups. Sadly, it was for a man who took part in a bug eating contest this past month.

The contest took place in conjunction with the giveaway of a snake and was sponsored by a reptile shop in Florida. Called “Midnight Madness,” the contest’s prize was a python snake worth $850. Besides the deceased man, there were another 20 to 30 individuals who participated.

The premise of the contest was simple. Whoever ate the most roaches and worms was the winner. Before collapsing, the man apparently ate dozens of them. According to witnesses to the event, the man seemed to be enjoying himself. The owner of the store described the man as the “life of the party.”

Shortly after winning the event the man collapsed and began throwing up. Emergency workers were called and he was transported to an area hospital. Sadly, it was there that he died.

The cause of the man’s death has not yet been determined. An autopsy was conducted however and when available, the results are expected to provide that information. None of the other contestants experienced the illness.

Though a disgusting notion to some, a wide variety of bugs are routinely consumed by individuals throughout the world on a regular basis. This is likely at least in part where the idea for the contest arose. Acting on behalf of the business, one man indicated that the insects consumed as a part of the contest had been raised in a controlled environment. All of the contestants signed a waiver before it began.

Whether any legal action will be taken by the loved ones of the man who died is not known. Often when an individual dies at a public establishment, civil lawsuits are filed that are based on an expectation that steps will be taken to keep patrons safe. Whether this type of lawsuit would be viable in a situation such as this where the man appeared to accept responsibility for any harm that could befall him do the activity at the location remains to be seen.

Source: CNN, “Florida man dies after winning roach-eating contest,” Greg Botelho, Oct. 9, 2012

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