Las Vegas high school athlete collapses, dies during flag football game

Ashari Hughes, 16, died following a “medical emergency” during the Desert Oasis High School athletic event on Thursday night.

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A Las Vegas high school student has died after collapsing due to a “medical emergency” during a flag football game Thursday night.

Ashari Hughes, 16, reportedly experienced chest discomfort during the game and fell to the ground while taking a break on the sidelines, her family told FOX 5 Vegas.

In a letter sent to parents on Friday morning by Ian Salzman, principal of Desert Oasis High School, it was reported that Hughes died following the “medical emergency,” per the outlet.

“With deepest sympathy, I write to inform you of the recent passing of one of our students,” Salzman wrote.

Ashari Hughes, 16, died following a “medical emergency” during a Desert Oasis High School flag football game on Thursday night in Las Vegas. / AdobeStock

He informed parents that following Hughes’ collapse, “staff immediately began providing medical aid and continued until paramedics arrived.”

“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,” he added.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that registered nurse Aphelia Phifer-Hill, who performed CPR on the teenager, recounted the incident on Facebook Thursday evening.

“Today was the first time ever, in my 26 years of nursing that I had to do CPR on a kid,” Phifer-Hill wrote.

She added that “everyone was panicking” as medical personnel attempted to resuscitate Hughes through the use of a defibrillator and chest compressions, according to the outlet. 

The girl’s heartbeat was initially restored, but Phifer-Hill reported that she died after being rushed to a hospital and connected to a breathing tube.

Hughes’ family members told FOX 5 Vegas that the young girl had been having heart issues and had been medically cleared to play sports prior to the game, but the family was considering removing her from athletics for further testing.

In a post on a GoFundMe page for Hughes, family members of the high school sophomore describe her as “passionate, loving, and determined.”

“She loved music, dancing, and (being) around all the people she loved,” the family wrote, adding that football was “the real love of her life.”

The post continued: “She loved hard and was loved by many. She will be missed by all of us.”

Hughes’ on-field medical emergency mirrors the recent collapse of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who was hospitalized after experiencing cardiac arrest during a nationally televised Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2.

As of Friday, Jan. 6, Hamlin, 24, is responsive and able to breathe without the assistance of a tube as medical staff continue to monitor his condition following days spent in the ICU.

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