Young football player dies at practice

August 26, 2008 9:27:35 PM PDT
Counselors are available in Waldwick after an eighth-grade athlete died. ''My heart goes out to the family," Veronica Lackey said. ''I'm a cheerleading coach and I was there when it happened.'' Lackey says she saw Sean Fisher collapse on a Waldwick football field.

She joined other parents and school district officials on Tuesday night as this community navigates its way through a tragedy.

''We've lost one of our own. It's a tough time for us," Superintendent Robert Penna said.

The boy collapsed on Monday, his 13th birthday, during warm-ups for his youth football team. School officials say an EMT administered CPR. Police and paramedics also used a defibrillator, but it was not enough.

Officials said it appears he suffered a massive heart attack.

Fisher was trying to find his passion. He thought it was football, and he gave it his best.

"Once I heard about it, I was really upset about it," said one of his friends.

It was the first season the 13-year-old was going to tackle football on the local recreational team.

"You don't think something like that would happen. He really didn't deserve something like that to happen to him. So it's just a freak accident, and he didn't deserve it," said Nick Oravetz.

Fisher's funeral is scheduled for Friday.

The school district will be providing counseling services to students and any members of the community at the Waldwick Middle School from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

The school is scheduled to open next week.

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STORY BY: Eyewitness News New Jersey reporters Toni Yates and Jeff Pegues
WEB PRODUCED BY: Lakisha Bostick, Scott Curkin and Bob Monek

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