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Community stunned by sudden death of high school football player

LAPORTE, Ind. -- A 17-year-old LaPorte High School football player died after suffering cardiac arrest on the football field Wednesday. Friends of Jacob West are devastated at the sudden loss.

"I just wish I could talk to him one more time," said Will Smith, Jake's best friend.

Wednesday night Jacob West, a LaPorte High School football player, passed out on the football field.

He was taken to the hospital in LaPorte, but didn't make it through the night.

The community remembers West as an outstanding student athlete who died way too soon.

"No matter how much they knew Jacob, or how little they knew Jacob, everyone is experiencing a great loss today," said Rande Thorpe, LaPorte Community Schools Superintendent.

Thorpe arranged for grief counselors to meet with students.

He says many students don't have much life experience dealing with death, especially when it involves someone so young.

"They're experiencing the same amount of loss as everyone else, so this is a difficult time for them," said Thorpe.

The coroner says West died of cardiac arrest, but we still don't know what triggered it.

School officials say he passed a physical earlier this year and Wednesday evening's practice was no different from any other.

School district officials released the following statement:

The La Porte Community School Family wishes to express its deepest sympathy for the family and friends of Jacob West.  Jacob passed away unexpectedly and he will be sorely missed.  On Sunday, September 29th, a Celebration of Life Service will be held at Kiwanis Field starting at 4:30 p.m.  This service is open to the public so that all can celebrate Jacob’s life and reflect on how he enriched our lives in his short time with us.

With heartfelt condolences,
The Staff, Administration and School Board of the La Porte Community School Corporation.

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