Police: No indication of health problems in girl, 12, who collapsed, died at school

Police: No indication of health problems in girl, 12, who collapsed, died at school
Police say the child collapsed while playing a game of tug-of-war. Source: Brandon Riggins/WBRC
Police say the child collapsed while playing a game of tug-of-war. Source: Brandon Riggins/WBRC
Source: Sherea Harris/WBRC
Source: Sherea Harris/WBRC

PELL CITY, AL (WBRC) - Pell City police say a 12-year-old girl collapsed and died at Williams Intermediate School on Thursday.

Chief Greg Turley said it happened while the sixth grader was playing a game of tug-of-war with other students during the school's Field Day.

School nurses performed CPR on the girl until paramedics arrived and took her to St. Vincent's/St. Clair Hospital where she was pronounced dead, Detective Sgt. Don Newton said.

Newton said there was no indication the girl had any kind of health condition that may have led to her death. He added that there will be an autopsy to determine her cause of death.

When asked if the girl could have been dehydrated because of the heat, Newton said there was water available for all of the students and staff were making sure the kids stayed hydrated.

"Anything that happens to kids is always a tragic type of thing. We are a very tight-knit community so anything like this impacts everybody in our town to a level, especially fellow students, staff, coaches and teachers and everyone in the school family," Newton said.

The girl's name has not been released because all of her family has not yet been notified.

Pell City Schools Superintendent Michael Barber issued the following statement about the student's death:

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.

Word traveled fast through town about what happened.

"The trauma to all those kids and everything," said Amanda Chergotakos.

Chergotakos, who has a 2-year-old son, says her heart goes out to the family of the little girl. It's something she can't even comprehend.

"Sending kids to school you're supposed to trust everything going on there," said Chergotakos. "I couldn't imagine if I sent him to school and got a phone call my little boy fell out at school. That's just awful."

The school moved their Field Day from Friday, May 20 to Thursday, May 19 because of the chance for rain, according to the school's website.

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