11-year-old dies after collapsing at football practice

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By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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GARDEN VALLEY — The first day of football practice turned tragic for the Golden Sierra Junior Grizzlies Monday evening. Andrew Jacob Lamphere collapsed on the field and died Monday. The 11-year-old suffered cardiac arrest and the coroners’ office released a statement Tuesday identifying the cause of death as a previously undiagnosed heart condition. At about 7:55 p.m. Monday, the Garden Valley Fire Department and Cal Fire Units arrived at Golden Sierra High School after they received a call that an 11-year-old male had collapsed. When emergency crews arrived, he was in full cardiac arrest and was immediately taken to Marshall Medical Center in Placerville, according to Sgt. Jim Byers with the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office. “Andrew was treated for an extensive period of time while being transported to Marshall Hospital, but died during transport,” Byers said. An autopsy conducted by the El Dorado County Coroner’s Office Tuesday determined the preliminary cause of death to be, “‘an undiagnosed heart defect’ described as Idiopathic Hypertrophic Subaortic Stenosis.” The autopsy went on to state that the condition would not have been discovered during routine physicals and is not routinely tested for by physicians. Junior Grizzly practices have been suspended and the organization’s board of directors had a meeting scheduled Tuesday night to discuss how to proceed. A memorial was scheduled for Saturday at 11a.m. at the Cool Community Church. Chris Whited, a youth pastor at Coloma’s Motherlode Church, said the family was coping with the loss, “as best as could be expected.” Whited read a brief statement from the family and he remembered Andrew as an active, fun-loving kid. “He was always smiling,” Whited said. “He was a great kid. He was always happy, very active. He loved to have fun.” Former Golden Sierra High football coach Kevin Ahern knew Andrew as both a student and a football player. “He was a student of mine at Georgetown School and I know he came out for football and really did well to keep up with the other kids,” Ahern said. “Anytime a tragedy like this happens it’s a nightmare for the coaches and the activity organizers. We do everything we can to make sure things like this don’t happen.” Jeremy Meyers, whose son Carter played on Andrew’s Junior Midget football team, said he got a phone call from his son shortly after the incident Monday night. “He just told me a player on the team had collapsed,” Meyers said. “He had no idea of the condition he was in.” Andrew had worn his hair long, but recently cut it off and donated it to the Locks of Love program. “He was that kind of kid,” Whited said. “He’d give anything. He was a great friend.” The Black Oak Mine Unified School District released a statement saying counseling is available at Georgetown School until 5 p.m. Tuesday and as needed throughout the week. Contact the Black Oak Mine district office at (530) 333-8300 for more information regarding these services.