Thatcher sixth-grade track athlete reportedly in coma after passing out during practice

Thatcher Middle School

By Jon Johnson

THATCHER – An 11-year-old 6th-grade female student at Thatcher is in a coma in the Intensive Care Unit at a Tucson hospital after passing out during track practice Tuesday afternoon.

According to Thatcher Police Chief Shaffen Woods, authorities assisted paramedics with a medical response to the school. Woods said that coaches performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the girl prior to the arrival of the paramedics. She was transported to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center and then reportedly flown to Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, Diamond Children’s Medical Center.

Woods advised that since the incident appears to be a medical issue, the Thatcher Police Department is not currently investigating what happened. 

“We don’t have any information that would lead us to believe it’s anything more than a medical case at this time,” he said.

The 6th-grade students are allowed to participate with the middle school track team because Bonita has a track meet in which just the 6th-graders compete, according to a parent of another 6th-grade athlete.

Early Wednesday evening, a family friend who is with the family in Tucson advised that the cause was a genetic heart problem that surfaced after running.

The track coach, who has taught at Thatcher schools since 2003 and has coached multiple sports, deferred comment to Thatcher Middle School administrative staff or the Thatcher School District administration. 

Requests for comment from Thatcher School Superintendent Dr. Kevin Spiller were not immediately replied. 

Update: The Gila Herald has learned that the 11-year-old girl is deceased.

An earlier version of this article mis-stated the athlete as being in 7th grade. This article was last updated at on Friday, March 8, at 3 p.m.

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