‘Heavy hearts’ after homecoming queen contender collapses and dies on high school football field

‘Heavy hearts’ after homecoming queen contender collapses and dies on high school football field

James Simpson II

An Ohio high school student collapsed and died Friday after being announced as a contender for homecoming queen.

Mapleton High School senior Breanne “Bre” McKean collapsed on the field during homecoming festivities before kickoff of a football game.

“It is with a heavy heart that the Mapleton Local School District announces the passing of Bre McKean… due to a medical emergency,” Mapleton Local School District Superintendent Scott Smith said in a release. “Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the McKean family, friends and the Mapleton community.”

McKean was one of three students that were Senior Queen candidates at this year’s homecoming festivities. She was a member of the Mapleton volleyball team this season, playing as a middle hitter. McKean was also a member of the girls high school basketball team during her first three years.

See 2023 Mapleton High School Homecoming Court

The homecoming football game against South Central High School went ahead until half time, when officials decided to call it off.

“I got together with the referee and decided we were going to tell the kids, we were going to suspend the game because there is no way they can play,” Mapleton football coach Matt Stafford said. “We figured we better tell them right away because with phones and everything, someone is going to find out.”

Stafford said he told students “There is more to life than just football, and this is one of those moments where you take a step back and reflect.”

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“Just come together as a family, as a football family, as a community, as a district and just console each other and love each other,” he said.

Smith, the superintendent, said staff and grief counselors were made available immediately after the announcement and this week.

“A special thank you goes out to the South Central community, administration, coaches, players and fans for their compassion and support last night. We would also like to thank our Mapleton community and surrounding school districts and communities for their continued support, encouragement and prayers during this difficult time.”

He said the homecoming dance that was scheduled Saturday, Sept. 30 was canceled, and all Mapleton athletic events were called off through Wednesday.

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