A 13-year student, Maddison Wentworth, passed away during her school’s field day while playing tug-of-war. The girl collapsed while playing the game and was rushed to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead. Now, some parents are questioning the school’s water policy during physical activities as one adult claims Maddison did not have proper access to water at the time of her death.
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WIAT reports that 13-year-old Maddison Wentworth passed away at Williams Intermediate School in Pell City, Alabama, while participating in the middle school’s field day. Wentworth was playing tug-of-war when she collapsed. School nurses and coaches were present when the child collapsed and immediately started CPR. While nurses performed CPR, 911 was called and an ambulance was called to the scene. Sadly, the child was pronounced dead a short time later at St. Clair Saint Vincent hospital.
Following the death, some parents are asking whether children playing the field day games had easy enough access to water. Mother Amanda Garrett, who had a daughter on the opposing tug-of-war team at the time of Maddison’s death, claims that the children had to go inside the school to get water from the bathroom or pay $1.50 for a bottle of water.
“She told me that they were only allowed to get water if they went to go to the restroom, otherwise they had to buy the water, she said it was like a dollar or a $1.50 a bottle.”
Garrett says that prior to Maddison’s death, the girl had complained of feeling dizzy and a headache. The mother says that even though it was a mild 76 degrees outside, the kids should have had easier access to water. However, other parents say that water was easily accessible with numerous water fountains at the school, cooling stations, and bottled water options.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) May 22, 2016
According to the Daily Mail, other parents that were at the field day claim that there was plenty of water that was free-of-charge to the students. Another mother, Victoria Boyd, says she was at the field day and personally gave Maddison a bottle of water before the tug-of-war game.
“I was there. I was beside the child when it all happened. She had water. I gave her a bottle before tug-of-war ever started.”
The superintendent of the school also clarified that there was plenty of water available to students via cooling stations and water fountains inside of the school. He notes that children were allowed to go inside and get water whenever they wanted without interference.
“There were drinks being sold at concession stands but that teachers made water available to the students and there were many water fountains inside the school for students to use.”
It has not been revealed if Maddison had a pre-existing medical condition that could have caused the death during the physical activity or if any other factors may have contributed to the death. Meanwhile, the Pell City Schools released a statement about the death, noting that their thoughts and prayers are with the child’s family.
“It is with great sadness that we report the loss of one of our precious sixth grade students. Our thoughts and prayers go to our student’s family. Counselors have been provided for students of Williams Intermediate School and counseling services will continue as long as needed.”
Counseling services are being provided to any students affected by the death and will continue until they are no longer needed.
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