SJC teen died of enlarged heart after passing out at basketball tryouts

13-year-old Paris Byrd collapsed at Murray Middle School Tuesday.

A young teenage girl died of an enlarged heart after passing out at an after school basketball tryout in St. Johns County.

Paris Byrd, 13, collapsed during basketball tryouts. Deputies and emergency personnel responded to a medical emergency shortly after 3 p.m. Tuesday at the gymnasium at the middle school. Byrd went into medical distress and was transported to Flagler Hospital. Byrd was pronounced dead at the hospital, a news release said.

Byrd collapsed at a girls’ basketball tryouts, a school district spokeswoman said. St. Johns County Schools also said the middle school had working AEDs, or automated defibrillators, at the time of the incident.

Preliminary findings in the autopsy report state that Byrd died of an enlarged heart.

James Donald is a parent of a student who was also at the basketball tryouts. He said the child was his daughter's friend. He said she fainted and had a seizure.

"I feel awful," he said. " ... She was just crying for hours on my shoulder and I'm just holding her."

The principal of the school, Tom Schwarm, released the following statement to parents, students and staff:

It is with extreme sadness and a heavy heart that I relay the news that one of our very own students has passed away this evening. It is out of respect for the family that I do not relay her name at this time.

Many students, teachers, school staff and parents will be reeling from this news. We will have our crisis team which includes grief counselors, district staff, school counselors and social workers on site tomorrow, and for as long as needed, to support the entire school community. 

We will also have materials posted on our website to assist you in speaking to your children about this tragedy.

I ask that you keep all of our Bulldogs in your prayers and for the parents at this time.

The principal released an additional statement:

“Paris represented what is amazing about our children at Murray. A student, who despite life’s difficult challenges and circumstances, demonstrated impeccable perseverance, hope, and strength to achieve greatness. She displayed a unique combination of thoughtfulness, positivity, and leadership that radiated from within and influenced all she encountered in her time with us. As a top student in our A.V.I.D., Cambridge Advanced Studies, and Center Arts programs, Paris not only excelled in her academic studies through hard work and dedication, but also inspired her classmates to achieve. In such a short life, she created a life-long positive impact on our Murray family that will endure always.”

A crisis team will be on hand to support the school for as long as possible.

A GoFundMePage has been set up on behalf of a friend for funeral expenses. 

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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