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9-Year-Old Girl Collapses and Dies While Running in Track Meet

January 27, 1992

NEW YORK (AP) _ A 9-year-old girl collapsed and died at a track meet for children as her mother and about 500 spectators and athletes watched in horror.

A doctor said Jessica Varady apparently suffered a heart attack. An autopsy was scheduled for today.

Jessica fell to the ground at the end of a 55-meter race Sunday in the gymnasium at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

Medical workers tried for almost an hour to resuscitate her, said Dr. Michael LaCorte, chairman of pediatrics at the Brooklyn Hospital Center. He said the cause of death apparently was cardiac arrest.

Several hundred elementary school girls from the metropolitan area participated in the meet.

LaCorte said sudden death isn’t uncommon for teen-age athletes with barely detectable heart problems; usually it’s a muscle disorder that enlarges the heart. But he said he had never heard of it happening in someone so young.

Jessica had no history of heart problems or other medical conditions and felt fine before the meet, he said.

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