Zeeland shows family love after teen dies suddenly

Ottawa County

ZEELAND, Mich. (WOOD) — The Zeeland community lovingly surrounded the family of a 16-year-old boy who died from a blood clot while playing soccer over the weekend.

A day after Keaton Kroll’s collapse, more than 100 community members held hands and circled the Kroll family’s home while praying.

It’s a show of support the family says has helped them begin the healing process.

“Amazing,” Keaton’s mother Danielle Kroll said of the support. “You can’t put it into words.”

Keaton was playing indoor soccer with classmates at a facility in Holland when he collapsed. He was rushed to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

Doctors told Keaton’s family that he has a blood clot in his leg, which traveled to his lungs.

Prior to Saturday’s incident, Keaton had been sick with pneumonia, his parents said. But he was feeling better and wanted to play Saturday. He had complained of pain in his leg, but his mother said nothing seemed severe enough to warrant concern.

As Keaton was rushed to the hospital, his parents hoped he would be okay.

“I prayed for miracles, but it just was his time,” Danielle Kroll said.

Keaton was the youngest of three children. 

He loved to give hugs and cared deeply for his family.

“He always needed to hug us every night before we went to bed,” Danielle Kroll said. “He just had a huge heart.”

Keaton had aspirations of becoming a professional soccer player and was considering a future career as a teacher.

The Krolls are devout Christians and say their faith is helping them deal with this sudden loss.

“I know where he is right now and I think that helps us get through,” Danielle Kroll said.

Keaton’s father Kurt Kroll describes his son as “the glue that kept everybody together.” He hopes others come away with a realization from the tragedy his family is enduring.

“Life Is short,” Kurt Kroll said. “Appreciate the time you’ve got with your loved ones.”

The Krolls said the community support has overwhelmed them. Students brought soccer balls covered with messages of support and memories of Keaton. 

“We love you too,” Kurt Kroll said in a message directed toward the Zeeland community.

Danielle Kroll is a teacher in the district and the family is well known in the community. Keaton was a sophomore at Zeeland East High School. Zeeland school leaders said grief counselors have been made available for students and staff.

Keaton’s absence leaves a hole in his family they say won’t be filled. His mother and father said they will miss everything about their son.

“The 16 years that we had with him, I’d never change it for the world,” Danielle Kroll said. “He was amazing.”

An obituary can be found online. A GoFundMe account has been created to help the family cover funeral expenses.

Visitation is scheduled for 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Yntema Funeral Home on S. State Street in Zeeland. Funeral services begin at 11 a.m. Thursday at Engedi Church on Chicago Drive in Holland.

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