NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A 14-year-old boy has died after collapsing during football practice in the Bronx.
EMS was called to Mount Saint Michael Academy around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.
The student, identified as freshman Dominick Bess, was involved in non-contact football practice when he collapsed, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.
“The student was treated immediately on campus and paramedics transported him to a local hospital,” the school said in a statement.
A teammate told CBS2’s Alice Gainer that he saw Bess looking exhausted and asking for water before he collapsed.
“We basically did drills, running drills, scout offense,” Kianndra Smith said.
Smith said Tuesday morning’s 8 a.m. practice was business as usual. It was the first of two practices scheduled for the day.
Smith was on the varsity field, but over on the junior varsity section Bess collapsed — sources said he had some sort of cardiac episode.
Bess was rushed to Montefiore Medical Center where he was pronounced dead from cardiac arrest, 1010 WINS reported.
“Kind, loving caring — an angel gone too soon,” said Bess’ uncle, Bertram Meade. “A young man who had a lot of promise. He could have been anything and everything.”
“Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, as well as coaches, the team and our student-athletes,” the school said, adding that grief counselors will be on hand at the school.
Mayor Bill de Blasio took to Twitter to express condolences.
“Our hearts break for this young man’s family,” de Blasio Tweeted. “We should prohibit sports practices during heat waves.”
Mount Saint Michael Academy released a statement following the incident.
“The student was treated immediately on campus, and paramedics transported him to a local hospital,” it read in part.
They added that this was a non-contact practice.
Players said the JV team wasn’t in pads, just shorts and t-shirts.
“He wasn’t sick, he was a healthy child. Never complained about any pain. This is what he wanted to do, play football,” Bess’ godmother Erica Farrell said.
It was about 83 degrees at the time of the incident, but with a 75 percent humidity factor, temperatures felt closer to 90.
One player and his father who didn’t want to go on camera said there aren’t enough water breaks, but Smith said otherwise.
“Every drill you get a water break. It’s not like they’re starving us or anything,” he said.
This comes two weeks after a Long Island high school student suffered a fatal injury during pre-season football practice.
A research group said nationwide — with more than a million high school football players – five died at practices last year from cardiac arrest, heat stroke, or asthma.
Bess’ family wondered whether an undiagnosed medical condition may also have been to blame for his death.