Dunbar basketball player dies after collapsing in gym

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A Paul Laurence Dunbar High School basketball player in Lexington collapsed during open gym Wednesday afternoon and died at the hospital, according to the Fayette County coroner.

The player was identified as 15-year old Star Ifeacho, a sophomore on the Bulldogs team.

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An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday with the hopes of determining how and why he died.

The Fayette County Public School system says Dunbar coaches and athletic trainers were on hand at the time of the medical emergency. The school district says Ifeacho had stopped shooting baskets and was with an athletic trainer when he collapsed in the locker room. The district says the trainer immediately provided emergency care, including CPR and the use of AED, while 911 was called. When paramedics arrived, they took over Ifeacho’s care and rushed him to the hospital.

The coroner says Ifeacho was pronounced dead at 5:47 p.m. in the pediatric emergency room at UK Hospital.

The school district says the basketball team was taking part in two-on-two games and other drills in an open gym setting when Ifeacho was stricken.

A statement from Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk says, in part: “Our hearts are broken over the tragic death of 15-year old Star Ifeacho, who was a beloved member of the Paul Laurence Dunbar High School family. Please join us in keeping Star’s family and the entire Dunbar community close in thought and prayer at this terrible time.”

Grief counselors will be at Dunbar on Thursday to support students and staff, according to the school district.

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) says its staff was shocked and saddened to learn of Wednesday’s tragic incident at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School.

“The absolute worst part of my job is getting a call like I received Wednesday night with the sudden loss of this young man. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Ifeacho family, the Paul Laurence Dunbar and Fayette County school community, and all of those who valiantly tried to save this young man following his incident. We recognize the fragile nature of life itself and wish peace on all who knew this fine young man during this difficult time,” said KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett.