A 16-year-old student died Thursday during a flag football game against a rival high school.
Ashari Hughes died after a “medical emergency,” a Desert Oasis High School official said, according to KVVU-TV.
Hughes was participating in a flag football game at the time, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
KVVU said a family member the station did not name told the news outlet Hughes was having chest problems and had gone to the sidelines, where she collapsed.
The station said that, according to the family member, Hughes had experienced heart problems and had been examined by a cardiologist. The report said that although a doctor had cleared her to play, the family wanted to have her stop so they could evaluate her health.
A family member told FOX5 the 16-year-old was playing flag football and was having chest problems. The girl went to the sidelines to take a break when she collapsed.
— FOX5 Las Vegas (@FOX5Vegas) January 6, 2023
The Clark County Coroner’s office said that the official cause of the teen’s death was pending.
The teen’s death is the second sport-related death of a Las Vegas high school student in the past 18 months, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
In July of 2021, Cajetan Chinoyelum Nsofor, 13, of Legacy High School died after collapsing at a football workout. The Clark County Coroner ruled he died due to cardiac dysrhythmia.
“Ashari was 16 years old and was playing the game she loves, football. Little did we know this would be her final sophomore game,” family members wrote.
“She was passionate, loving, and determined. She loved music, dancing, and [being] around all the people she loved. She called football the real love of her life! She loved hard and was loved by many. She will be missed by all of us. Hold the #7 up high for her! It was her first football number and she always wanted to represent it well!”
Marilyn Barnes, whose daughter Ajah, 15, had been a teammate of Hughes before Hughes changed high schools, recalled Hughes fondly, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“On the field she was a beast. She put her heart into that game, every game she played. Off the field she was so bubbly. She always had a smile on her face,” she said.
Hughes’ death was a shock to her friends, Barnes said.
“It’s very scary because at the end of the day, we think of sports as a sport. We all have plans on what happens after the game, get the family home, have dinner and get the babies ready for school the next day. You just never think on that field or court that’s their last moment,” she said.
Desert Oasis High School Principal Ian Salzman sent parents a message to inform them Hughes had died, according to KVVU.
“With deepest sympathy, I write to inform you of the recent passing of one of our students,” he wrote.
After Hughes was stricken, “staff immediately began providing medical aid and continued until paramedics arrived,” he wrote.
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