HS runner, 16, dies after pair of heart attacks

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

NEW PALTZ, N.Y. -- A New Paltz high school sophomore died over the weekend after suffering a pair of heart attacks in two days.

Officials say 16-year-old Kyle Brewer suffered the first heart attack Friday afternoon during track practice.

Teammates and coaches used a defibrillator on Brewer and performed CPR while others called 911.

Then, on Sunday, he suffered a second heart attack at a hospital and later died.

Principal Barbara Clinton and High School Track coach Don Bartlett met with faculty and staff early Monday morning to inform them of Kyle's passing. Coach Bartlett and his assistant coaching staff met with the track athletes and other students who were outside during Kyle's collapse to share the tragic news. A meeting was also held with the entire sophomore class prior to informing the remainder of the student body.

"Kyle was a well-liked, kind, witty, young man who had a great sense of humor," Clinton said. "He was a good friend, studious, never angry, thoughtful, and mature beyond his age. Overall, he was simply an impressive young man who positively touched the people he knew."

A roll of white paper was hung at the school for students to write their thoughts and share messages with Kyle's family.

Grief counselors are on hand at the school.

Dutchess County Mental Hygiene also has a 24/7 text hotline available to all staff and students which can be accessed by texting 741-741.

Resources from the National Association of School Psychologists about supporting children and adolescents who are dealing with grief from death are available on the high school website. Officials say it is important for parents to be aware that all students process death differently and will have varied reactions, which can range from withdrawal, depression, nightmares, anger, avoidance or participating in high-risk behavior.

Parents are urged to openly discuss Kyle's death and encourage their children to share their reactions and feelings. If anyone is concerned about the way their child is coping with this loss, please contact the High School Guidance Department at 845-256-4100.

"Kyle's passing is heartbreaking for the entire school community," superintendent Maria Rice said. "He was an amazing young man with a promising future."