High school student dies after collapsing on football field

Updated: October 14, 2019 02:29 PM

A northern Minnesota community is grieving the loss of a high school football player who passed away after collapsing during a game.

According to the Aitkin Police Department, 15-year-old Jackson Pfister of Esko High School was at a varsity football game at Veterans Field in Aitkin on Friday night when he collapsed on the field.


Pfister was transported to Riverwood Healthcare Center. He died a short time later.

A statement released by Esko School Superintendent Aaron Fischer said the teen suffered from a "cardiac event" after playing most of the game.

"Jackson was a tremendous young man that brought joy to everyone he was around," the statement reads. "The entire community is grieving this loss. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."

Fischer said support services will be available for students on Sunday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the school cafeteria. Additional resources will also be available on Monday as students return to school.

Friends and teammates of Pfister gathered at the football field in Esko Saturday afternoon. They left flowers and other memorial items at the 50-yard line.

According to the preliminary report from the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office, Pfister's death is natural due to congenital heart disease. 

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Kirsten Swanson

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