(StraightNews.org) – An Illinois teenager collapsed and died while playing high school basketball. Amari Crite, a 14-year-old pupil at Momence High School in Kankakee County, collapsed on the basketball court during a junior varsity game against Tri-Point and died immediately.
Shannon Anderson, the superintendent of Kankakee County school district, said, “We are deeply saddened to confirm the heart-breaking news of the passing of one our ninth grade students. Our thoughts and condolences go out to the family.” The Kankakee County Coroner’s Office said it is still investigating the cause of death.
The school announced the availability of grief counselors, and a GoFundMe page was established and raised almost $50,000 within the first few days.
Several of the teenager’s friends and teachers left moving tributes to Amari on social media, including a former teacher who described her as a “beautiful soul.” Her father posted a photo of the teenager and wrote, “I miss my silly girl.”
While the cause of death is unknown, previous social media posts from Amari suggested prior health problems. In April last year, she posted on Instagram saying she had just been to an appointment with a neurosurgeon, and brain imaging showed a mass that doctors said was benign. “Praise God,” she wrote.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 2,000 young people die suddenly in the United States every year. A study of the phenomenon, published by the National Library of Medicine, found that 25% of such deaths occur during sports. Most incidents are traced to an unknown but underlying heart problem, with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and coronary artery anomalies cited as the most common causes.
Experts describe hypertrophic cardiomyopathy as a genetic condition that affects 1 in 167 people. It occurs when the heart’s left ventricle thickens and enlarges, resulting in reduced blood volume and impaired aortic activity. Coronary artery anomalies are usually present at birth but often undiscovered. They typically involve a significant artery located in the wrong place or wrongly shaped.
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