• Family, friends gather to remember 13-year-old who died while playing football


    PITTSBURGH - Family, friends and teammates gathered on Thursday to remember Jordan Duckett, the boy who died after he collapsed while playing football in Pittsburgh's Windgap neighborhood.

    Even though Duckett was only 13 years old, so many described him as a gentle giant who died doing what he loved.

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    "It's bigger than football. It's about life and that's why we have the crisis team out here today," said Marty Lanford, the president of Westside Youth Athletic Association.

    Police said they responded to reports of an unresponsive boy on a field at Chartiers Avenue and Middletown Way just before 7:40 p.m. Wednesday.


    When they arrived, police said they found Duckett, who had been at football practice and collapsed while running off of the field.

    "He was laying in the grass with tubes in him and they were trying to do CPR. In my opinion, he looked lifeless when I got there," his mother, Laken Duckett, said.

    He was transported to Children's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

    Police said the scene was processed due to the boy's age and the fact that it is an undetermined death.

    The cause and manner of death will be determined by the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office.

    "He was always slow. He was always behind, and he was always overworking himself trying to keep up with the rest. He couldn't do it physically," the mother said.

    A spokeswoman for Pittsburgh Public Schools released this statement: 

    "We are deeply saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Pittsburgh South Hills 6-8 student Jordan Duckett.  The 8th grader was well loved by all. Our thoughts are with his family, as well as the players, coaches and staff of the West End Mustangs."

    Grief counselors were available Thursday afternoon for parents, coaches, players and cheerleaders in the Westside Mustangs Youth Athletic Association.


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