Doctor: Heart issue led to Saranac boy’s collapse, death

Ionia County

SARANAC, Mich. (WOOD/AP) — A Saranac boy who collapsed during football practice Wednesday died from a heart condition, according to the Kent County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Dr. David Start tells News 8 Skylar Lasby suffered sudden cardiac death caused by an abnormal heartbeat. Start explained Skylar’s heart went into an erratic rhythm, which caused heart palpitations. Start said further evaluation of Skylar’s heart is underway, but he explained that sudden cardiac death can happen to anyone.

Start said Skylar didn’t show any signs of trauma or infection.

Skylar, a seventh-grader at Saranac Junior/Senior High School, collapsed on the field Wednesday evening during a non-contact drill, according to Saranac Communty Schools.

A witness told News 8 that it initially looked like the boy was having a seizure. A nurse who happened to be around rushed to help him. The witness said the nurse and emergency responders worked on Skylar for more than an hour before Aero Med arrived. He was flown to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, where he later died.

Skylar is part of a growing list of West Michigan athletes who have died from sudden cardiac death, including Grand Rapids Drive player Zeke Upshaw last year, Grandville High School hockey player Ryan Fischer in March 2014 and Fennville basketball star Wes Leonard after making a game-winning shot in 2011.

Leonard’s family went on to spearhead the Wes Leonard Heart Team, which has worked to install automatic external defibrillators at all schools.

An obituary posted online by Lake Funeral Homes says 12-year-old Skylar enjoyed football, fishing and camping, and was an avid fan of the University of Michigan. He is survived by his parents and several siblings.

The schools’ Facebook page says a funeral is planned Wednesday at Saranac Junior/Senior High School.

A family friend has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover Skylar’s funeral expenses.

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