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Second New Jersey Teen Football Player Dies This Week

In Uncategorized on August 27, 2008 at 7:55 pm

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A second teen football player in New Jersey has died this week from events that occurred during football practice.

Cliffside Park Police Chief, Donald Keane, told FOXNews.com that Douglas Morales died Tuesday night at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck from injuries sustained in practice.

The 17-year-old Cliffside Park High School athlete was rushed to the hospital from practice on Friday.

“We received a call at the police station at 11:50 on Friday,” Keane said. “The caller said there was an unconscious football player on the field. He (Morales) was unconscious when we got there and we got him into the ambulance right away.”

Right now, Morales’ body is at the Bergen County Medical Examiner’s Office where an autopsy will be performed to determine a cause of death.

What police do know is that the practice was authorized and coaches were present during the activities, Keane said.

The teen’s death came only a day after a Waldwick boy died during football practice on his 13th birthday.

Sean Fisher’s mother told The Record of Bergen County she was home making cupcakes for her son’s birthday when he lost consciousness Monday.

An EMT rushed onto the field and paramedics used a defibrillator. They were unable to resuscitate him. Fisher was pronounced dead at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood.

Officials are awaiting the results of Sean Fisher’s autopsy. The school superintendent says an undetected heart condition is suspected.

Dr. Merle Myerson, a cardiologist and director of St. Luke’s Roosevelt Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program in New York City, said if an athlete suddenly dies, it is generally from a cardiac cause.

“It can be from a fatal irregular heart rhythm, an abnormality of the heart muscle, a problem with the structure of the heart or how the heart is working, or how the electrical condition of the heart is working,” Myerson said. “The thing is, it’s usually unusual, so when it does happen, it’s tragic.”

Myerson said more preventative screening is needed for student athletes.

“In Europe, they do it more, the doctors will give the athletes an electrocardiogram, and ask for the family’s history, along with a physical exam,” she said. “In this country, the whole issue is that sports are being cut, so forget health screenings. They probably just listen to your heart with a stethoscope, but shouldn’t we be doing more?”

A funeral Mass will be celebrated Friday for Sean.

The boy was due to enter eighth grade next week.

“These were hometown kids — part of an extended family,” Keane said. “The town is in mourning right now.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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  1. We will keep them in our prayers

  2. For more information on the issue of sudden death in young athletes, on the medical screening for young athletes controversy, and to educate yourself for the safety of your own children, check out the web site of the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association: http://www.4hcma.org. The HCMA is an internationally known patient advocacy group located in NJ. Please especially note symptoms that may appear in children with these heart conditions. (Although many patients never have any symptoms prior to collapse.) Please also note that cardiac symptoms in girls (heart palpitations, fainting, etc.) are often discounted as being due to anxiety or dieting.

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