A baseball player from Central Penn College has died after a makeshift wooden dugout collapsed on him in Harrisburg, Pa., officials said.
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Angel Mercado-Ocasio, 19, died as the result of a traumatic head injury that is being ruled an accident, per ABC 27 News. The incident was not related to the Central Penn baseball program or school.
Instead, it happened when Mercado-Ocasio and his teammates and coach, Gerardo Diaz, were taking down a dugout after playing with the Harrisburg youth international league team. After the accident, Diaz reportedly tried to perform CPR on Mercado-Ocasio for three minutes.
Mercado-Ocasio woke up and was then rushed to the hospital, before succumbing to his injuries two days later.
Per ABC 27, the dugout was built without a required permit and has since been taken down. The team for which Mercado-Ocasio did have permission to use the field.
The baseball players were goofing around when dismantling the dugout, Diaz told ABC 27.
“I tried my best to protect him,” Diaz said. “I got mad at them, I told them to stop playing around but kids will be kids. I still feel responsible.”
The school released a statement about the tragedy.
“Our Central Penn College family is devastated by the loss of Angel,” university president Linda Fedrizzi-Williams said in the statement. “As friends who have become family, we are mourning the heart-wrenching loss of one of our own, a promising young athlete who senselessly lost his life while helping others enjoy the sport he loved so much.
“No words can adequately express our anguish. Our baseball team all said their good-byes to Angel yesterday and expressed their love to their brother. We will all be changed because Angel is no longer with us, but we will also be changed because he was.
“It is with heavy hearts that we offer our sincere sympathy to Angel’s family, friends, teammates and coaches, who will bear the burden of his absence most acutely.”
Mercado-Ocasio was a native of Harrisburg and played shortstop and second base at Central Penn, a private four-year college in Summerdale, Pa.
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