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Stonington police investigate teen's death after collapsing at Mystic YMCA

By Tess Townsend

Publication: theday.com

Published March 31. 2014 11:00AM   Updated April 01. 2014 12:45AM

Mystic — Stonington police are still investigating the March 24 death of a 14-year-old boy after he collapsed on the basketball court at Mystic YMCA. The teenager was a student at Waterford Country School, a residential program in Waterford for children deemed to be at risk.

Stonington Police Capt. Jerry Desmond said the incident was reported as a medical call and that he could not discuss details.

Police are not releasing the boy’s name because he was a juvenile, and the school’s executive director, Bill Martin, said he was not able to release the student’s name.

Martin said Monday that the teenager, who was from Bridgeport, had been staying in a shelter run by the school only a few days when the incident occurred.

The Day learned of the incident Sunday from a reader tip. Stonington police then confirmed that a 14-year-old boy living in Waterford had died after collapsing at the YMCA.

Four male students were at the YMCA for a recreational activity the night the student died, Martin said Monday. He said he did not know if the child who collapsed had a pre-existing medical condition.

“The child had only been with us for only a short period of time and, basically, it occurred with no warning,” the executive director said.

“It’s just an unfortunate situation, just really tragic,” he said.

Police were called at 8:04 p.m. after the student collapsed. The boy was immediately taken to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, Stonington police Sgt. Louis Giamanti said Sunday.

Ocean Community YMCA President and CEO Maureen Fitzgerald said Monday that Mystic YMCA staff followed emergency protocol, calling police and paramedics and assisting in CPR.

Ocean Community is comprised of three YMCA locations, in Westerly and Arcadia, R.I., and Mystic.

Fitzgerald said the YMCA did not release information to the public after the incident occurred because “that was up to the family. That’s not our role in contacting the media.”

“Until we’re contacted, we don’t do anything with the media,” she said. “You know, it’s sensitivity for the family that’s involved.”

The Waterford County School is providing special counseling to those affected by the boy’s sudden death. Martin said that staff counselors, crisis and trauma specialists, and the school chaplain were available.

“Something like this is difficult for everybody involved, students and staff. I think everyone responds in their own way and we are providing the level of support that they need to be able to face this stuff,” he said.

Fitzgerald said YMCA staff are keeping the teenager’s family in their thoughts and prayers.

t.townsend@theday.com

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