High school football player collapses, dies in Pennsylvania

By , KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A high school football player collapsed and died Tuesday in Chester County.

Ivan Hicks, a 16-year-old West Catholic Preparatory High School football player, collapsed at about 5:45 p.m. while taking a water break at a 7-on-7 scrimmage at Coatesville High School against the host school's football team.

The Chester County Coroner's Office said that the coaching staff attempted to resuscitate him, and rescue crews brought him to Brandywine Hospital.

He was pronounced dead at 6:43 p.m.

Hicks was listed as a 6-foot-4, 300-pound junior offensive and defensive lineman.

County coroner Christina VandePol said a full investigation is underway with an autopsy scheduled for Friday. Final cause of death will be pending that autopsy.

VandePol said there was no sign of external injury, and while it’s too early to draw any conclusions, they’ll be looking at cardiac causes and heat related issues, based on what’s known about sudden death in young athletes.

The PIAA has rules about when schools can start mandatory practices, but 7-on-7 scrimmages are voluntary and have become popular during the offseason.

A letter was sent to members of the West Catholic Preparatory High School community. We share it in part below:

We are writing to share deeply sad news affecting our school community. Yesterday evening, while participating in an off-season workout with the football team, Ivan Hicks, Jr. sadly passed away after being taken by ambulance following a medical emergency call.

Please join us in praying for the happy repose of Ivan’s soul and that God may hold and comfort his family at this time of intense sorrow and grief.

We recognize that this moment is a difficult one for our school community. Please be assured that we, along with all of the administrators, teachers and staff, will do everything possible to provide assistance to our students. We will have grievance counselor’s available tomorrow, July 15th, from 10am-1pm here at the school. We will also have zoom appointments available for anyone who wishes to speak to a counselor remotely.

Please keep Ivan’s family, the West Catholic Prep football team and the entire school community in your prayers.

Coatesville High School Principal Michele Snyder also shared a statement for her school community, shared in part below.

It is with a very sad heart that I’m writing to let you know of a tragedy that touched our high school community last night.

Our hearts and prayers go out to this young man’s family and to the entire West Catholic High School community. This is such a tragic loss, and I was so touched by the response of coaches from both teams and school administrators who gathered at the hospital to offer support to the family of this student.

Our own school counselors are reaching out to our Coatesville football players and will be available to talk with them about this. All out of season football related activities for today, July 14, were canceled out of respect for the tragedy these players witnessed. We want to be sure we are offering full support to help them process this.