Middle School's Field Day Ends In Tragedy

| by John Freund
Maddison WentworthMaddison Wentworth

A middle schooler in Alabama reportedly collapsed and died during a field day at a local school. 

Maddison Wentworth, 13, was playing tug-of-war at her Pell City, Alabama, middle school on May 18 when she reportedly collapsed and later died.

CPR was reportedly attempted, but those efforts failed. Maddison was rushed to St. Clair Saint Vincent's hospital where she was later pronounced dead, WVTM reports. The girl's sudden death shook the entire community, who remembered her as a "bright star."

"She loved everybody," her mother told WVTM. "She loved animals. She loved holding babies and taking care of them. She loved singing. She could sing. Drive you crazy singing." 

Heat was likely not a factor in Maddison's death, as the weather was mild the day she died, with the National Weather Service showing temperatures in nearby Anniston reaching just 76 degrees at high noon, according to The New York Daily News.

A parent of one of Maddison's classmates reportedly told WIAT that Maddison had complained of headaches and dizziness prior to collapsing, though no information on any possible pre-existing medical condition has been released thus far. 

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, students, faculty and staff,” Pell City police spokesperson Don Newton said, according to WIAT. “It’s a traumatic event for everybody, especially right here at the end of school.”

The Pell City School System issued the following statement: 

It is with great sadness that we report the loss of one of our precious sixth grade students.  Our thoughts and prayers go to our student’s family.  Counselors have been provided for students of Williams Intermediate School and counseling services will continue as long as needed.

Amanda Garrett, the parent of a daughter who participated in the field day, told WIAT that during the activities, children could either pay for bottled water outside or go inside to get free water from the water fountains located near the bathrooms.  

“[My daughter] told me that they were only allowed to get water if they went to go to the restroom, otherwise they had to buy the water," Garrett said. "She said it was like a dollar or a $1.50 a bottle."

“It was really hard," Garrett added. "She’s 13, and the other girl, I think she was 12. And, of course her cousin, she’s 12, and they were right there and they saw it. Like I said, my daughter was on the opposite team of tug of war, and she felt so guilty, because of that, that maybe she could have done something differently.”

A GoFundMe page has been established to accept donations for Maddison's Memorial Fund. 

Sources: WVTM, NY Daily News, WIAT / Photo Credit: GoFundMe via NY Daily News

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