Hayden boy dies during class

15-year-old student collapses while exercising with classmates

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A 15-year-old Hayden High School student died Tuesday of cardiac arrest on the school's football field at about 1 p.m.

Routt County Deputy Coroner Mitch Locke identified the student as Robert "Bobby" Donelson. Robert was not breathing and had no pulse when responders from the West Routt Fire Protection District arrived, Chief Bryan Rickman said.

Rickman said the ambulance crew was on another call at the time of the incident, but responders were on the scene within 10 minutes. Responders tried to resuscitate the boy but were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at the Yampa Valley Medical Center.

The cause of the boy's collapse and death is not yet known.

"All I know is cardiac arrest," Rickman said. "That's all we're sure of at this point."

Robert was on a walk in a health class when he collapsed, according to a 15-year-old classmate who declined to be named.

According to the classmate, Robert was among a group of students playing tag and joking around on the walk when he fell over and grabbed his chest, saying that it hurt. After a moment, he rose and said he felt better, but after a few paces, he again fell, this time going into convulsions, the classmate said.

Gym teachers and the school nurse came to his assistance and attempted to resuscitate him while they waited on an ambulance.

His family, including an older brother who also is a student at the high school, met with students for support, Principal Troy Zabel said. By the end of the school day, about 10 counselors from Steamboat Springs and Moffat County had arrived to speak to students, Zabel said.

About 40 to 50 students and a number of staff members remained at the school at about 6 p.m., talking with the Donelson family and one another.

The school will continue offering counseling for students throughout the coming days, Zabel said.

- To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208

or e-mail zfridell@steamboatpilot.com

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