Homecoming queen candidate dies on football field in Ohio; community grieves

Homecoming queen candidate dies on football field in Ohio; community grieves


Breanne “Bre” McKean, a senior at Mapleton High School, was among 3 homecoming queen candidates before her death. The school has canceled all homecoming festivities.

James Simpson II

Natalie Neysa Alund
 USA TODAY NETWORK – Florida

MAPLE HEIGHTS, Ohio − A high school student collapsed and died on a football field moments after being announced as a contender for homecoming queen.

Mapleton High School senior Breanne “Bre” McKean collapsed during homecoming festivities before an away football game on Friday in Greenwich, Ohio, about 60 miles southwest of Cleveland.

Mapleton Local School District Superintendent Scott Smith said in a Facebook post that Bre died “due to a medical emergency.”

“Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the McKean family, friends and the Mapleton community,” he said.

A coroner will determine the teen’s cause and manner of death.

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McKean played on volleyball, basketball teams at school

Bre, one of three senior queen candidates at this year’s homecoming festivities, played on the high school volleyball team this year and played on the girls basketball team during her first three years.

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

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“I just received the news at halftime walking down to the locker room that one of our students had passed away,” Mapleton football coach Matt Stafford said, adding that he then consulted with South Central’s coach and the referee.

“(We) decided we were going to tell the kids we were going to suspend the game because there is no way they can play,” he said. “We figured we better tell them right away because with phones and everything, someone is going to find out.”

See 2023 Mapleton High School Homecoming Court

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A step back to reflect

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.”

“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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