Students and staff at Ferndale High School are mourning the loss of a student who suddenly passed away after collapsing at school following practice with the track team.
FHS junior Mario Campbell, a 16-year-old hurdler on the team, was attending an indoor practice session on the afternoon of March 14 when he fell in a school hallway. He was transported to Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital and was pronounced dead a short time later.
According to officials from the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office, an autopsy is currently under way. His cause of death is still yet to be determined pending toxicology and histology reports, a process that usually takes about six weeks.
At the start of the school day March 15, FHS principal Lisa Williams led the school in a moment of silence after sharing the news that Campbell had died. She also asked the school community to stand together and support each other during this difficult time.
Grief counselors were available at school throughout the morning to provide support for students and staff. The district’s counseling and social work staff were also asked to start their day at FHS to offer additional assistance.
“We appreciate the strong support that we’ve already received from our school family to help each other and our student’s family and friends through this sad time. Mario was a wonderful student, enthusiastic learner, team player and dedicated friend. He always had a smile on his face and a good word to share. We will cherish his memory forever,” Williams said in a statement.
FHS Athletic Director Shaun Butler also shared fond memories of Campbell.
“This young man was a hardworking, dedicated and determined student athlete,” he said in a statement. “He made dramatic improvements in his (400-meter) time last year, and he had set his goal to be the top hurdler this season. Mario was quiet, positive, well-liked and respected. We will really miss him.”
Gary Meier, superintendent of Ferndale Public Schools, asked district residents to keep Campbell’s family and friends in their thoughts and prayers.
“Everyone in our school community will be impacted by this tragic loss, especially those who knew him, his friends and teachers, present and past,” he said in a statement. “Everyone will benefit from the support of the Ferndale Schools family.”
FHS students are honoring Campbell by signing their names on a memorial banner at school, which will later be presented to Campbell’s family.
Meier noted that the district will also be providing resources for parents to help teens and younger children through the grieving process. This information can be found in the March 15 Ferndale Schools eNews, which can be downloaded at www.ferndaleschools.org/districtnews/index.html.
Campbell’s death marked the second time in less than a month that a high school student in Ferndale has passed away unexpectedly. On Feb. 19, Sammuel Lee II, a 17-year-old senior at University High School, was killed when his older brother accidentally fired a handgun inside Lee’s Highland Park home. Lee had been in his bedroom playing video games with a friend at the time. His older brother was also in the room with a semi-automatic pistol that he had just purchased when it suddenly went off, striking Lee in the left side of his chest with a single shot, according to police.
Details about Campbell’s funeral arrangements were unavailable at press time.
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