Rare Diseases

High school basketball star collapses, dies after open gym session

Star Ifeacho, pictured right, died after collapsing during an open gym session on Wednesday.

Star Ifeacho, pictured right, died after collapsing during an open gym session on Wednesday.  (GoFundMe)

A Kentucky high school sophomore was wrapping up an open gym session with his basketball teammates on Wednesday when he collapsed in the locker room and later died at a nearby hospital. Star Ifeacho, 15, had been working with teammates on drills and two-on-two games with coaches and an athletic trainer present, The Lexington Herald reported.

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“Star stopped shooting baskets and was with the athletic trainer when he collapsed in the locker room,” Manny Caulk, Fayette schools superintendent, said in a news release. “The athletic trainer immediately provided emergency care, including CPR and the use of the AED (automated external defibrillator), while 911 was called. When paramedics arrived, they took over his care and transported him to the hospital.”

Ifeacho died at University of Kentucky Hospital later that evening, though officials have not released a cause of death, the news outlet reported. Caulk said counselors were being made available to students and staff at Paul Laurence Dunbar, where Ifeacho attended classes.

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“The absolute worst part of my job is getting a call like I received Wednesday night with the sudden loss of this young man,” Julian Tackett, Kentucky High School Athletic Association commissioner, told The Lexington Herald. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family, the Paul Laurence Dunbar and Fayette County school community, and all those who valiantly tried to save this young man following his incident.”

Teammates and friends took to social media to express their sympathy and love for Ifeacho, who was a shooting guard on Dunbar’s team and averaged 6.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. The Lexington Herald reported that he would have been the team's second-leading returning scorer for the 2017-18 season.

 A post on a GoFundMe page set up on behalf of the family described him as a “gentleman, student and athlete.”

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“Please help his mother, Peace, and his brother, Sam, with the cost of his funeral and burial,” the page said. “No mother should ever have to bury her child and if we can help alleviate some of the stress of the cost, we should. RIP Star. You were a shining light in our lives and will continue to shine in our hearts and minds.”