Local News

Cary Teen Dies After Collapsing During PE Class

Posted April 20, 2004

— Family, friends, and administrators at Reedy Creek Middle School are mourning the death of a vibrant 14-year-old.

Dara Emam died suddenly Monday in the middle of physical education class. Tuesday afternoon, still no one knew why.

Monday's warm spring day seemed like the perfect setting for a soccer game. But a simple game turned tragic.

"We were just playing soccer, and he just fell on the ground and collapsed," student Michael Graham said of Emam.

Students at first thought Emam was joking when he fell down.

"He didn't get back up," Graham said. "His eyes started rolling back. We found out he wasn't joking around."

School Resource Officer Wyatt Crabtree said he got a call on his radio about a student that might have been having a seizure. The gym coach already had called 911.

Crabtree said he rushed up to the field and saw the gym teacher performing CPR on Emam.

Emam was pronounced dead at Rex Hospital.

Tuesday, flowers were placed in memory of Emam on the spot where Emam collapsed and on a fence surrounding the field.

"It is difficult," Principal Carla Jernigan said. "This is a very sad day at Reedy Creek Middle School.

"The students are coping the best they can. That's why we're fortunate to have so many counselors here helping students deal with this."

The cause of Emam's death remained a mystery Tuesday. People who were on the field with him said they had water to drink and that they were not overheated.

Cary police are investigating the death. They have not asked for an autopsy, but sources told WRAL that the family may do so.

Those who knew Emam said that, as far as they are aware, he had no major health problems.

"He was a cheerful person," Graham said, "always one of the people to laugh and always one to make you laugh."

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