Notre Dame High School Freshman Dies After Collapsing During Basketball Practice

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A female student at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks has died after collapsing during basketball practice on Monday, according to school officials.

Nikki Valdez is seen in a photo released by Notre Dame High School on Nov. 17, 2015.
Nikki Valdez is seen in a photo released by Notre Dame High School on Nov. 17, 2015.

Nikki Valdez, a freshman, was at the team’s practice in the afternoon when she suddenly collapsed, the school’s president, Brett Lowart, said in a statement.

The team was doing a “track run” when Valdez fell to the ground, a teammate said.

“We were at practice … I was just walking and she collapsed and that’s all I heard,” said teammate Nichole Macciello, who called 911.

Valdez was treated by paramedics that were called to the scene before being transferred to Sherman Oaks Hospital, where she later passed away, the statement read.

Valdez’s basketball coaches and teammates were at the hospital with her family when the news of her death was announced, according to the statement.

“I couldn’t help but cry … it was really hard,” Macciello said.

It was unclear what caused her to collapse, and a cause of death was not immediately known.

“I had one class with her and she’d always come in with a big smile,” teammate Sabrina Lemus said.

Nikki was a member of the class of 2019. Her older brother, Addison, is a junior at the private, Catholic college preparatory school, according to the statement.

“He has open arms ready for him when he’s ready to open up, we’re here for him,” another teammate said.

Any student that may know Nikki or Addison was encouraged to meet in the gymnasium for grief counseling Tuesday morning, Lowart said.

A prayer service was scheduled to be held in the gym following fifth period.

“The Notre Dame community will assuredly come together in faith, as it always does, to comfort and support the Valdez family and one another,” Lowart said in the statement.

Nikki was the second student from the school to die in the past four months, the Los Angeles Times reported. Senior Chris Kelly was killed in a car crash in Granada Hills back in August.

Correction: The surname of Notre Dame High School student Chris Kelly was misspelled in an earlier version of this report. The article has been updated.

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