16-year-old girl collapses and dies during Nevada high school flag football game

A Nevada teenager has died as a result of a “medical emergency” after she collapsed during a high school flag football game this week, leaving family, friends and classmates in mourning after her sudden passing.

On Thursday night during a game between Desert Oasis High School and Valley High School, 16-year-old sophomore Ashari Hughes collapsed after she went to the bench during the contest at around 7:30 pm local time after experiencing chest problems.

She was attended to by a nurse in the stands who administered CPR and a defibrillator was used to regain her heartbeat but she tragically died later that evening at the hospital where she was taken and intubated, a tragic end to the young life of a girl whose passion was flag football.

According to a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “Aphelia Phifer-Hill posted to Facebook on Thursday night that she rushed onto the field to perform CPR on the girl, who was her daughter’s teammate,” the paper which could not reach her for comment reported that “A person named Aphelia Phifer Hill was licensed with the Nevada State Board of Nursing as a registered nurse in 2015 and has an active license, according to the board’s website.”

“’Today was the first time ever, in my 26 years of nursing that I had to do CPR on a kid,’ she wrote,” the outlet reported that she wrote that the teen collapsed after the game and that “everyone was panicking” as the tragedy played out in cold and rainy weather as chest compression attempts and an external defibrillator were used to render aid to the fallen student.

“Her family was not at the game, but finally arrived,” the woman’s Facebook post read. “Love your kids, you never know when death is coming.”

“It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that the student passed away. The school and the entire district mourn the loss of this young life,” said Desert Oasis High School Principal Ian Salzman said in a Friday morning letter sent to parents.

(Image: Screengrab/GoFundMe)

“We are doing a fundraiser for our daughter Ashari and everything helps. As a family, we are thankful. Ashari was 16 years old and was playing the game she loves, football. Little did we know this would be her final sophomore game. She was passionate, loving, and determined,” her family said in a GoFundMe page set up for her. “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!”

Desert Oasis students shared their thoughts on the tragedy with a local Las Vegas-area news outlet.

(Video: YouTube/8 News NOW Las Vegas)

Hughes’ family told Fox 5 Las Vegas that she “was experiencing ongoing heart problems and the family was consulting with a cardiologist. A doctor had cleared Hughes to play sports, family said, but given the ongoing issues, they were planning on pulling her from sports to evaluate her condition.”

The tragedy comes only days after Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on national television on Monday Night Football during a critical late season matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals, having to be resuscitated on field in a terrifying episode that has caught the attention of the nation, spawning debate on the dangers of football as well as the potential that the COVID vaccine may have played a role in a healthy 24-year-old nearly dying after making what appeared to be a routine tackle.

“The Clark County School District grieves the sudden passing of one of our student-athletes,” said CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara in a statement. “The loss of his young life deeply saddens us, and our thoughts are with the student’s friends, family and loved ones. 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.”

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