A Brooklyn prep school is mourning the tragic death of a sophomore student athlete who passed away while trying out for the school's junior varsity basketball team.
As first acknowledged by the school itself, Brooklyn (N.Y.) St. Edmund Prep sophomore Jose Rodriguez passed away in the middle of tryouts for the school's basketball team on Saturday afternoon. According to the New York Post, the 15-year-old walked off the court to take a water break with fellow players and collapsed, leaving him lying on the floor motionless. The school's junior varsity basketball coach Mike O'Brien immediately began performing CPR and continued until an ambulance arrived, but the athlete never responded.
No cause of death has been determined, with an autopsy expected to follow in the coming days. The teen will be remembered with a wake on Thursday and Friday and will be laid to rest on Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, the school's basketball programs have decided to dedicate their season to the young athlete's memory, a small part of the many efforts St. Edmund is taking to help its students cope with the grief of losing a friend so young.
"He had a smile that can light up any person's day," Rodriguez's best friend, St. Edmund basketball player Justin Manon, told the Post. "He was also the type of kid that always thought positive. Like if you were down he would try to help you. In my opinion he is the hardest working kid I've ever met in my life. … He was the definition of a best friend and I'd do anything to bring him back."
That commitment to friendship was shown throughout Rodriguez's freshman year, when he steadfastly attended all of the school's basketball games despite not being a member of the team. According to friends, there was one reason for that: He wanted to be there to support Manon.
Now, just when it appeared Rodriguez was about to become a part of what he so longed to join in his first high school year, he was taken from his friends altogether.
"He really wanted to be part of the program," St. Edmund athletic director and varsity basketball coach Dan Wiatre told the Post. "He went to all the games last year even though he wasn't on the team. He definitely would have made the JV team. He was working hard."