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Student-athlete, 16, dies after she suffered 'medical episode' during flag football game

The girl collapsed during a flag football game. The cause of death is unclear.
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/ Source: TODAY

A 16-year-old girl in Las Vegas has died after “suffering a medical episode during an athletic event on Thursday, according to a message sent to families,” reported KSNV, the NBC affiliate in Las Vegas.

Her cause and manner of death were still pending as of Friday, according to the Clark County Coroner’s office, per KSNV.

Ian Salzman, the principal at Desert Oasis High School, said staff provided medical aid to the student until paramedics arrived on the scene, KSVN reported.

The student has been identified as 16-year-old Ashari Hughes. The medical emergency occurred Jan. 5 during a flag football game, according to The Las Vegas Review-Journal. The newspaper also reported that Hughes collapsed during her team’s home game against Valley High School. She was taken to the hospital and died later that night.

“Tremendous resiliency and compassion was on full display Friday through the campus as teachers, staff members, students and parents worked to support each other working through emotions,” Salzman wrote in a letter to the parents of students at the school.

“The coming weeks are sure to bring a range of emotions and feelings for students and staff. I want to remind everyone to extend patience and compassion to those who are working through the grieving process. We have our school counselors and other staff ready to offer support to those looking for someone to talk with.”

Desert Oasis canceled all athletic events the day after the medical episode.

Ashari's family established a GoFundMe to help pay for her funeral and shared some facts about the teenager.

"As a family, we are thankful. Ashari was 16 years old and was playing the game she loves, football," the GoFundMe page reads. "Little did we know this would be her final sophomore game. She was passionate, loving, and determined. She loved music, dancing, and bring around all the people she loved. She called football the real love of her life! She loved hard and was loved by many. She will be missed by all of us. Hold the #7 up high for her! It was her first football number and she always wanted to represent it well!"

The superintendent of Clark County School District, Jesus Jara, shared a statement on the loss, saying that the whole school district is grieving "the sudden passing of one of our student athletes."

"The loss of this young life deeply saddens us, and our thoughts are with the student’s friends, family, and loved ones," the statement continue. "When a tragedy occurs, it affects not only that school but the entire Clark County School District family, and we grieve with the students, staff, and families affected by this loss."

Hughes’ death came less than a week after Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest during his team’s “Monday Night Football” game against the Cincinnati Bills. He was administered CPR and taken to a local hospital, where he remains while his condition has improved.