A 14-year-old high school freshman collapsed and died while taking part in a girls’ basketball game, her school announced.
Momence High School student, Amari Crite, was participating in a junior varsity game against Tri-Point before she suddenly collapsed on the court, the Daily Journal reported.
Tragically, Crite passed away not long after.
The cause of death remains under investigation, the Kankakee County Coroner’s Office said.
The school’s superintendent, Shannon Anderson, released a statement Friday morning about the tragedy.
“We are deeply saddened to confirm the heartbreaking news of the passing of one of our 9th-grade students on January 25, 2024,” Anderson wrote.
“Our thoughts and condolences go out to the family and friends affected by this tragic loss.”
“At this time, we are prioritizing the well-being of our students, staff, and the broader school community. Mental health and counseling support will be available in all buildings on January 26 and as needed in the coming days and weeks to assist those who may be grappling with the emotional impact of this tragedy,” she continued.
“We are deeply thankful to neighboring Districts and the mental health and grief counseling providers in the Kankakee County area that have volunteered their services to assist our community during this time.”
“We understand the interest from the media in covering this story, and we appreciate your sensitivity in approaching this matter.”
“However, we kindly request for the privacy and grieving process of the family and the school community during this difficult time,” Anderson added.
“Our primary focus right now is on supporting one another and providing the necessary resources for our community to cope with this loss. We ask for your understanding and cooperation in this matter.”
A local sheriff wrote on Facebook:
“The Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office stands with the Momence School District during this difficult time. Friends, family and classmates are all in our prayers.”
A GoFundMe page was created by Amari’s family, which has so far raised over $47,000.
“As some if not all of you may know our precious baby girl passed away last night January 25 when she collapsed at her basketball game,” the loved ones wrote.
“We are asking for any and everyone to help us give her the proper homegoing she deserves.”
“As a former coach, who had a player collapse on the court (luckily she recovered just fine), I will never forget the fear instilled in me from that unforgettable moment & neither will the other players,” wrote one contributor.
“Watching a player leave in an ambulance, or worse, a hearse, can’t be unseen. My family & I are praying for her family, coach, teammates, & school districts.”