A 14-year-old boy died after he was found unresponsive at the bottom of a pool at a northwest Indiana high school following football practice Wednesday night, officials say.
Officers responded to Calumet High School, located at 3900 Calhoun St. in unincorporated Gary, Indiana, Wednesday evening for a report of a possible drowning, according to a statement from the Lake County sheriff's department.
Authorities said the teen was found unresponsive at the pool and taken to Community Hospital in Munster. The school district's Supt. Sharon Johnson-Shirley said Thursday that the boy had died.
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"Today we have all been traumatized," Johnson-Shirley told reporters outside the school Thursday morning.
"Losing a student is just at the top of my list of one of the worst things that could possibly happen," she continued. "Right now, my attention is on our students, on our coaches because they are really, really not doing well this morning and I'm not either."
Witnesses at the pool said it had been opened to football players after practice and while they were swimming at some point, the boy had been discovered at the bottom of the pool.
"They just came in from football practice, you know it was very hot and humid yesterday and the coach let them go in to cool off," Johnson-Shirley said Thursday, adding that it was not part of practice itself and that around 25 students were in the pool at the time. She added that opening the pool to athletes was not an unusual event and that the students were being closely supervised.
"We had people on guard. The coach, as a matter of fact, was in the seat to look over the students and saw two other students going down to bring this kid up and he responded immediately. All of our coaches were there and they responded immediately," Johnson-Shirley said.
The teen's identity was not immediately available but Johnson-Shirley said he "was in good standing with our school, people loved him, an athlete" and that he was a freshman with multiple siblings in the school district.
Grief counselors were on hand at the school early Thursday to assist students, staff and any members of the community seeking assistance, Johnson-Shirley said.
The incident remains under investigation, according to the Lake County sheriff's department and the superintendent.