Ferndale HS student collapses, dies after track practice - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Ferndale High School student collapses, dies after track practice

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Students and staff at Ferndale High School are mourning the death of a 16-year-old student.  (Credit: Fox 2 News) Students and staff at Ferndale High School are mourning the death of a 16-year-old student. (Credit: Fox 2 News)
FERNDALE, Mich. (WJBK) -

Students and staff at Ferndale High School are mourning the loss of one of their own.  The school district said 16-year-old Mario Campbell collapsed and died Thursday after practicing with the track team.

"Mario was a wonderful student, enthusiastic learner, team player and dedicated friend," said Ferndale High School Principal Lisa Williams.

An autopsy was performed Friday by the Oakland County medical examiner and results are pending.

According to published reports, Campbell was having a seizure.  We asked Dr. Steve McGraw, who works in the emergency department at Providence Hospital, what that means.

"When someone has a sudden cardiac event, especially young adolescents, but otherwise healthy people, often is their heart stops.  One of the final things that happens is something that looks very much like a seizure.  The difference, however, is with a seizure your heart won't typically stop.  A young person having a brief seizure can often wake up very shortly thereafter.  If the precipitation of that event, however, was a cardiac event, that's when they don't recover," he explained.

How often are young athletes collapsing and dying?

"It's still relatively rare, but it does happen about 2,000 times a year in our country someone between the ages of two and 25 will have a sudden cardiac death," McGraw said.

What can we do to prevent it?

"When they relate it to sporting activities, often it's something wrong with the heart that wasn't diagnosed before.  The best screening is still a very competent physical exam and history performed by a doctor prior to participating in sports, and then if someone has an abnormal finding on exam or an abnormal history in their family, a more detailed evaluation by a pediatric cardiologist," said McGraw.

Fox 2 News staff contributed to this report

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