6th grader collapses, dies after Field Day tug of war game


PELL CITY, Ala. (WIAT) – UPDATE: She has been identified as Maddison Wentworth.

A 13 year old girl collapsed and died after a game of tug of war during field day activities at Williams Intermediate School, Pell City Police say.

School coaches were at the tug-of-war game and immediately reacted after the girl collapsed. The school nurse was also at the field day and the nurse and coaches began CPR, Pell City police spokesperson Don Newton said. 911 was called, and Pell City Fire and Rescue responded. She was taken by ambulance to St. Clair Saint Vincent’s where she passed away.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, students, faculty and staff,” Newton said. “It’s a traumatic event for everybody, especially right here at the end of school.”

Pell City Schools gave a statement:

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.

One parent spoke to the media, and said that children were able to get water if they went inside near the restrooms, or had to pay for bottled water at the field day.

“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,” said Amanda Garrett. Garrett’s daughter was on the opposite team of tug of war. Garrett said her daughter heard the girl complain of a headache and dizziness before she collapsed.

CBS42 reached out to Newton, who had previously told us there were “cooling stations” at the field day. He clarified that there was water available at the cooling stations, but he did not know if it was free or not. We have reached out to the school system for comment on the cooling stations, but have not yet heard back.

“It was really hard. She’s 13, and the other girl, I think she was 12. And, of course her cousin, she’s 12, and they were right there and they saw it,” Garrett said. “Like I said, my daughter was on the opposite team of tug of war, and she felt so guilty, because of that, that maybe she could have done something differently.”

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