Elyse Purefoy who was a member of Arabian Mountain High School dance team in Lithonia passed out after collapsing on the track during a summer workout on Monday.
The 17 year old cheerleader captain died before she even made it to DeKalb Medical Center. Her father, Hank, believes extreme dehydration had a role to play in her death and several teammates said the teen asked her coach for water several times during her workout session but was denied the water.
” She was a beautiful spirit,” an emotional Hank Purefoy told the station. “We’re going to miss her.”
Although the medical examiner’s office has still not completed enough tests to determine the cause of Purefoy’s death, her family wants more information about the events leading up to her death, reported CBS46.
“Yesterday morning she was fine; she was fit,” Purefoy’s maternal grandmother, Janet Jackson, told the local news station.
The Purefoy’s family told CBS46 that the teen passed her sports physical examination and, as the daughter of a nutritionist, was always taking vitamin supplements.
Neither of the dance team coaches have commented on Elyse’s death.
DeKalb County Schools District officials also told CBS46 they are still investigating what happened.
“Elyse Purefoy, a rising senior – suffered a medical emergency while practicing. School officials responded quickly and contacted emergency personnel. After initial EMS support and assessment, Elyse was transported to a nearby hospital where she passed away. DCSD is working closely with the appropriate departments to assess the events of yesterday morning,” the district said in an initial statement.
The Georgia High School Association handbook says coaches must provide at least three separate rest breaks, each hour, for at least three minutes. However, dance was just added to the GHSA last year and has not been sanctioned under the same rules.
The Purefoy’s family does not want to speculate about what led to her death, they are eager to speak with her teammates and the medical examiner.
“We can’t come to any kind of closure until we get certain answers from the medical examiner and maybe speak to some of her friends,” Jackson told CBS46. “I don’t want to point fingers, but I do want answers. We want answers.”