The family of the Georgia teen who collapsed and died during a workout with her school’s dance team wants to know how the healthy 17-year-old passed away.
On June 10, Elyse Purefoy, a cheerleader and dance team member at Arabia Mountain High School, collapsed while running laps with the rest of the dance team. She died before she even made it to DeKalb Medical Center.
While the medical examiner’s office has still not completed enough tests to determine the cause of Purefoy's death, her family wants more information about the events leading up to her death, reported CBS46.
“Yesterday morning she was fine; she was fit,” Purefoy’s maternal grandmother, Janet Jackson, told the local news station.
Purefoy’s family told CBS46 that the teen passed her sports physical examination and, as the daughter of a nutritionist, was always taking vitamin supplements.
However, Purefoy’s friends told her family that during the team workout, in 84-degree heat, she was denied water several times when she asked the coach.
Neither of the dance team coaches have commented on Elyse’s death.
DeKalb County Schools District officials also told CBS46 they are still investigating what happened.
“Elyse Purefoy, a rising senior – suffered a medical emergency while practicing. School officials responded quickly and contacted emergency personnel. After initial EMS support and assessment, Elyse was transported to a nearby hospital where she passed away. DCSD is working closely with the appropriate departments to assess the events of yesterday morning,” the district said in an initial statement.
The Georgia High School Association handbook says coaches must provide at least three separate rest breaks, each hour, for at least three minutes. However, dance was just added to the GHSA last year and has not been sanctioned under the same rules.
This case has reminded many of Jordan McNair, the former University of Maryland football player who died from heatstroke after a team workout.
While Purefoy’s family does not want to speculate about what led to her death, they are eager to speak with her teammates and the medical examiner.
“We can’t come to any kind of closure until we get certain answers from the medical examiner and maybe speak to some of her friends,” Jackson told CBS46. “I don't want to point fingers, but I do want answers. We want answers.”
Purefoy participated in the Beta Club, Future Business Leaders of America and cheerleading and held a 3.9 GPA. Her family is still accepting donations to cover funeral costs. To donate, click here.