College baseball player dead at 19 after dugout collapses on him
( NYPost )
A 19-year-old college baseball player died after a makeshift wooden dugout collapsed on him in Harrisburg, Pa. on Monday, according to officials.
Angel Mercado-Ocasio, a student at Central Penn College died, of a traumatic head injury that was ruled as accidental by the Cumberland County coroner, ABC 27 News reported.
Mercado-Ocasio’s coach, Gerardo Diaz, performed CPR on the student-athlete for over three minutes before he woke up and was rushed to the hospital, where Mercado-Ocasio spent two days in the hospital fighting for his life.
The tragic incident occurred when Mercado-Ocasio was helping take down a makeshift dugout with Diaz and teammates after playing with the Harrisburg youth international league team at 7th and Radnor Sports Park, according to the outlet.
The event was not related to Central Penn’s baseball team.
Another unnamed person was injured in the incident, university officials said, per The Kansas City Star, and their condition is unknown as of Thursday.
The dugouts were built without a required permit and have since been taken down, according to ABC 27 News, which reported that the team did have permission to use the baseball field.
Diaz told Fox 43 that they took down the dugouts after the city told them to do so because they did not have a permit to build on the property.
“I don’t want to be a knucklehead nor does anybody,” he said. “When they told me to take it down, I waited, but taking it down cost my kid his life.”
Diaz said the athletes were fooling around while they were trying to deconstruct the dugout.
“I tried my best to protect him,” he said. “I got mad at them, I told them to stop playing around but kids will be kids. I still feel responsible.”
Matt Maisel, the director of communications for the city of Harrisburg, said the city isn’t planning on taking legal action against the players or coach Fox 43 reported.
“Our Central Penn College family is devastated by the loss of Angel,” university president Linda Fedrizzi-Williams said in a statement. “As friends who have become family, we are mourning the heart-wrenching loss of one of our own, a promising young athlete who senselessly lost his life while helping others enjoy the sport he loved so much.”
The statement said his Central Penn baseball teammates said their goodbyes to Mercado-Ocasio on Tuesday.
“No words can adequately express our anguish,” it read. “Our baseball team all said their good-byes to Angel yesterday and expressed their love to their brother. We will all be changed because Angel is no longer with us, but we will also be changed because he was.
“It is with heavy hearts that we offer our sincere sympathy to Angel’s family, friends, teammates and coaches, who will bear the burden of his absence most acutely.”
Harrisburg mayor Wanda Williams called Mercado-Ocasio’s death “heart-wrenching” in a statement, calling on the community to pray for his friends, family and teammates.
Mercado-Ocasio, a Harrisburg native, was a freshman, according to Central Penn College’s athletics page, which states he was a shortstop and second baseman.
Mercado-Ocasio, who stood just under five feet tall, was described as tiny, and one of the hardest working players by those who knew him.
Central Penn College is a private four-year college in Summerdale, located about 110 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
The university said counselors were made available on campus for grieving students and staff.