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Chicago teen collapses during basketball game, dies despite efforts of spectators

Chicago Christ the King Jesuit College Prep sophomore Jermaine Cullum collapsed during a basketball game and later died. (Facebook)
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Chicago Christ the King Jesuit College Prep sophomore Jermaine Cullum collapsed during a basketball game and later died. (Facebook)

Despite the heroic efforts of two prep basketball spectators, doctors could not save the life of a Chicago teen who collapsed during a game at Riverside (Ill.) Brookfield High this past weekend.

In a tragic roller coaster of emotions, Christ the King Jesuit College Prep sophomore Jermaine Cullum fell to the floor after converting a layup during Saturday's tournament at the suburban school, according to the Chicago Tribune. A registered nurse in the stands immediately responded to an apparent seizure, a doctor working the concession stand followed suit, and the two helped restore Cullum's pulse using CPR.

The doctor, Maurice Binns, orchestrated the efforts of paramedics in an ambulance as they rushed Cullum to Loyola University Medical Center, where he reportedly remained in critical condition the following day. However, the boy died on Monday as the result of a still unknown heart condition.

“These cases are awful — they’re sudden, they’re tragic and they’re shocking — and what’s most surprising about them is that they tend to happen in young athletes who are seemingly at the peak of their physical condition,” LUMC cardiac electrophysiologist Dr. Jeffrey Winterfield told the Tribune, suspecting sudden cardiac death. “The incidence of these types of episodes isn’t truly known, but the estimated range is anywhere from 1 in 23,000 to 1 in 300,000 (high school athletes), so really uncommon.”

The boy's mother, Tarcia Patton, thanked the first responders for allowing her to say goodbye to her son and donated her son's heart to the university's medical center in hopes it will prevent future deaths.

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