FARMINGVILLE, L.I. (CBSNewYork) — Tragedy has struck a Long Island school district again as another student has died at a school event.
Grief counselors were posted at Sachem High Schools Tuesday morning to help students cope with a second death in the district in as many summers.
This time, a 17-year-old rising senior from Sachem North High School was participating in marching band practice at Sachem East High School Monday night in Farmingville when police say she appears to have suffered a medical incident, collapsed and died.
The Sachem Arrows Marching Band practices three evenings per week from 5 to 9 p.m., mostly indoors but a portion of the practice is held outside.
Parents say oppressive heat played a role but officials say the players were not in uniform and classmates say the victim they identified as Maddie Sparrow seemed fine earlier in practice.
“It’s horrible, especially what the district suffered last year at this time,” said Barbara Staria. “It’s devastating to the families and the community. Unimaginable. I can’t even put it into words.”
Just last August, a 16-year-old participating a school sanctioned football camp died at the campus while participating in a strenuous log lifting exercise. Teammates are still coping with that loss.
“I sleep one two hours a night the most,” one student told us on June 13. “I wake up with panic attacks.”
At Sparrow’s home in Lake Grove, anguished loved ones declined comment. A source tells CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff the teen may have suffered from a condition.
“We are currently not aware of the cause of death,” the superintendent wrote on a post of the district’s web site.
Suffolk Police say the death does not appear suspicious. Autopsy results could take several weeks.