Grand Rapids Basketball Player Dies during game

2:29 PM, Mar 25, 2005   |    comments
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A high school basketball player died in a hospital emergency room after collapsing at halftime of an all-star game. Jarrett Brenner, 18, of Grand Rapids, died Thursday night at St. Mary's Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Beth Johnson said. She did not have the cause of death. Brenner had been playing in the Bernick's Pepsi All-Star Game, which pits Duluth players against top players from the Iron Range. The game was held at Duluth Central High School. The coach of his all-star team, Dave Galovich, said the gym was "quite hot" and the pace was very fast in the first half. "There was just one locker room for the kids, so we decided to stay in the hallway where it was cooler," said Galovich, also the boys' coach at Crosby-Ironton High School. "I was addressing the team at halftime. That was when I noticed Jarrett had slumped over into the lap of one of his teammates." An assistant coach ran for help and the mother of another player -- Galovich said he believed she was a nurse -- tried to help Brenner until EMTs arrived. Duluth public schools Superintendent Julio Almanza said the Central gym is equipped with a defibrillator, but he had no other information about the game. It was staged by Kernz and Kompany Special Events and Marketing, and calls to the company weren't immediately returned. Brenner, a 6-4 senior forward, led Grand Rapids High School in scoring this season at 18.6 points per game and was an honorable mention on The Associated Press's All-State team. His high school coach, Dan Elhard, said Brenner moved to Grand Rapids from Wahpeton, N.D., before his junior year and "fit in right away with the players." He described him as a modest boy who tried hard to get along with everyone; the other players voted him captain this season. He said Brenner was close with his family. "After the games, his little sisters would be waiting outside the locker room to give him a hug," Elhard said. "And I had him at my basketball camp last year. He was kind of the featured helper for us and he was just so good with all the little kids. They kind of trailed around him like the Pied Piper." Elhard said he had Brenner in his global issues class, too, where Brenner earned an A. "He had strong opinions and he shared that," Elhard said, including the war in Iraq, where Brenner argued it was time to get American troops out. "We're just all in shock about what's happened," he said.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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