An Ohio high school student collapsed on the football field and died – soon after being introduced as a contender for Homecoming Queen.
Breanne McKean, 17, was a senior at Mapleton High School in Ashland. She died Friday of an undisclosed ‘medical emergency,’ according to a statement from the school district.
Breanne was the daughter of the school’s athletic director, Tim McKean.
He told News 5 Cleveland that Breanne – affectionately referred to as Bre – passed away at Ashland Hospital.
She collapsed after being introduced as a member of the homecoming court, on the football field where Mapleton was set to play its rival, South Central.
Breanne touched many lives and ‘was everything to us,’ her father said.
She was a passionate athlete and had earned several varsity letters, or recognition awards commending her involvement in volleyball, basketball and softball.
Mapleton head coach Matt Stafford and South Central head coach Derek Fisher chose to suspend the game after hearing at halftime that the teen had died.
The teams and student body were informed of Breanna’s passing.
Her body was taken to Lucas County to undergo an autopsy.
The Mapleton Local School District announced that the homecoming dance scheduled for Saturday had been canceled, and that all athletic events would be cancelled through October 4.
Students also had the option to meet with grief counselors on Monday.
A message was posted to the Mapleton Local Schools Facebook page, reading: ‘It is with a heavy heart that the Mapleton Local School District announces the passing of Bre McKean.
‘Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the McKean family, friends and the Mapleton community.’
The district thanked the South Central community for their ‘compassion and support’ on the night of Breanne’s death and added, ‘We would also like to thank our Mapleton community and surrounding school districts and communities for their continued support, encouragement and prayers during this difficult time.’
At the conclusion of a game on September 29, football players from Ontario High School and Pleasant High School knelt on the field to pray.
Most telling of Breanne’s impact were the tributes posted to social media by friends and loved ones.
‘Like many have said, to know Bre was to love Bre,’ one student wrote.
‘If you’re from the outside looking in you can tell Bre loves life…every picture she’s smiling…always with her friends, she has so many.’
She added that Breanne would enter a room ‘dancing, singing, yelling, laughing, or making vlogs’ and said: ‘We just miss you so much, but we’re trying to be happy, for you…our sweet, funny, beautiful, kind, perfect angel.’
Mike Leibolt, who coached Breanne for softball, posted a message in her honor.
‘We all lost a special person when Bre was taken too soon,’ he wrote.
‘She touched so many people in so many different ways especially with that infectious smile.
‘It’s gonna be hard for most of us to move on but we know that’s what you would want so we will suffer through it and push forward. You may be gone but never forgotten.’
The coach shared a series of selfies Bre had taken on his phone as she waited in the dugout.
Classmates scattered bouquets of flowers on Breanne’s parking spot by the high school.
It is painted with her name – a tradition for students – and ‘2024,’ the year she would have graduated.