Teen collapses, dies while playing indoor soccer game in Germantown -- Gazette.Net


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This story was updated at 1:15 p.m. on Jan. 7, 2014.

A 14-year-old boy died Sunday after collapsing during a game of futsal at the Germantown Boys and Girls Club.

Santiago Vesperoni of Bethesda was an eighth-grader at St. Bartholomew School in Bethesda, according to Principal Stephen C. Lamont.

Julio Zarate, president of the Pachuca Club de Futbol USA, had been watching the game of futsal — a five-sided indoor soccer game played on a hard surface — between the teen’s team and the Olney Boys and Girls Club Galaxy U14 girls team. Zarate said he had been asked to attend the game by Santiago’s team to determine if the boys team should play for his club.

Zarate said Santiago collapsed on the gym floor during the 1 p.m. game.

He said that he tried to help the teen and that another parent performed CPR, but the boy was unresponsive. Other parents inside the gym called 911, he said.

Assistant Chief Scott Graham of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that a 14-year-old was transported from the club at 19910 Frederick Road to a local hospital in serious condition on Sunday.

Santiago’s cause of death was not known.

When reached at home, his mother, Sylvia Vesperoni, did not want to comment on her son’s death.

The Montgomery County Police Major Crimes Division is investigating, which is standard procedure in a death, police spokeswoman Angela Cruz said Monday.

“This is a time to go hug and kiss your kid,” Zarate said.”Make them feel they are loved. I cannot imagine the mom getting the call that her kid is in the emergency room.”

Zarate said he plans to urge parents on his soccer teams to make sure their children have up-to-date physical exams and that medical information is made available to coaches.

Emily Janss, coach of the Olney girls team, agreed, saying that the club soccer organizations need to be better prepared for emergency medical situations.

“This tragedy is definitely a wake up call for all of us,” she wrote in an email to The Gazette. “We as coaches need to make sure our parents inform us of allergies, medical history, etc so that we are equipped with knowledge on how to handle these emergency situations with our kids.”

Perhaps baseline EKGs, which test heart activity, should be part of an athlete’s exam to be sure there are no hidden conditions, Zarate said.

“You may not ever be able to prevent something like this but I never believe someone should die in vain,” he said.

kbrick@gazette.net