College Student Dies After Choking During Her Sorority's Pancake-Eating Contest
A 20-year-old college student in Fairfield, Connecticut, died Sunday after choking during a Greek life pancake-eating contest at her school three days prior.
According to theDaily Mail, Caitlin Nelson was participating in the Sacred Heart University contest to raise money for Prevent Child Abuse America last Thursday night "when she suddenly fell to the floor and started shaking uncontrollably" after consuming four or five pancakes. Two nursing students in attendance at the party rushed to try and help her, and police and paramedics quickly arrived on the scene.
“Our officers were on the scene quickly,” Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara toldPeople. “They recognized the gravity of the situation immediately and desperately and heroically tried to clear her airway. Tragically, the obstruction was not easily cleared and that lack of oxygen for that amount of time ultimately caused severe damage.”
Nelson was then taken to a local hospital, where doctors said she was in critical but stable condition. She was later transferred to New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, where she died Sunday.
“It’s a tragic event that started out as something fun,” Fairfield police Lt. Bob Kalamara said during a news conference. "It was just a tragic accident.”
Multiple sources report that the Kappa Delta sorority sister and vice president was majoring in social work and was set to graduate in 2019. She was also extremely involved in community service and volunteered to help trauma victims after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
A memorial was held in her honor at Sacred Heart on Sunday evening, followed by a mass dedicated to her and an impromptu candlelight vigil attended by "several thousand."
CBS reports that Nelson's father, James Nelson, was a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police officer who was killed during the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. He was killed while trying to rescue people trapped in one of the World Trade Center towers. Nelson was 5 years old at the time of his death.
Video: College student dies after choking at pancake eating contest
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