MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Anoka High School officials say an 11th grade student died Saturday, while playing a pick-up game of basketball at a community center.
Principal Mike Farley said 16-year-old Kareen Hopkins had a pre-existing heart condition and died suddenly, in a letter sent to students and parents.
Erick Sutherland, of the Andover Community Center, said it was a tense situation as people tried to help Hopkins.
“To see someone that young, nobody wanted to give up,” he said.
Sutherland’s staff at the community center did everything they could to try and save Hopkins Saturday night.
“He had gone down and sat down in the bleachers, maybe to catch his breath, or I’m not really sure exactly what, and then at that point, he collapsed,” Sutherland said.
An Andover firefighter happened to be working out at the community center and heard the emergency call on his pager. He ran over to help.
“The Andover firefighter took control of the situation,” Sutherland said. “Started CPR, he actually directed my staff to go and get the AED. It’s my understanding that the AED was used on the young man and then CPR continued.”
Hopkins was rushed to a nearby hospital where he later died. Friends say that heart condition kept Hopkins from playing sports competitively but he still enjoyed playing basketball.
Farley said Hopkins was a well-liked and popular student.
“You know Kareen was a gregarious, just a smiley, happy young man,” he said.
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“Academics and getting good grades were important to him because he knew it was important to his family, especially to his grandmother whom he lived with,” said James Fassett, of Anoka High School. “All the kids loved him, he was a great kid.”
Farley said funeral arrangements are pending.
“Dealing with the loss of a loved one is very difficult,” Farley stated in his letter. “I am asking parents and guardians to pay a little closer attention to your son or daughter during this sad time because difficult news like this can affect young people in different ways, even if they did not know Kareen.”
Farley said they had counselors on hand to help students cope with the loss in school on Monday.
“When these types of things occur is really when we need to stand together,” Farley said.