Detroit Northwestern High School is mourning the loss of one of its student-athletes, Cartier Woods. The 18-year-old passed away on Tuesday, a week after collapsing during a high school basketball game in which he was participating.

The Detroit Public Schools Community District provided a brief statement regarding Woods’ passing. According to the statement, Woods’ aunt and legal guardian observed that his “vital signs continued to be absent” before making the difficult decision to remove him from life support.

Woods was being cared for at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital before his passing. He was a basketball and football player for Northwestern and collapsed during the first quarter of a basketball game on January 31.

The DPSCD community is heartbroken by this sudden and untimely loss. The district thanked everyone who provided their prayers and well wishes in this difficult time. The district also stated that they would share information about arrangements once they become available.

Detroit Douglass basketball coach Pierre Brooks, the coach of the team that was playing against Northwestern when Woods’ cardiac emergency occurred, said that Northwestern coach George Tyson immediately administered CPR while emergency transportation was in transit to the gym. Unfortunately, despite their efforts, Woods could not be saved.

According to a report from the Detroit Free Press, Woods had mentioned to his coach that he was feeling dizzy and needed to exit the game just before his collapse. The cause of the cardiac arrest is unknown at this time.

The tragic event brings to mind the death of Fennville basketball player Wes Leonard, who died in 2011 after suffering cardiac arrest following his game-winning shot during a basketball game. Since then, there have been sweeping changes to improve player safety, including the installation of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in or near athletic facilities and the signing of Public Act 388 of 2016 into law. The act requires that “schools incorporate training, at a minimum, in hands-only CPR into any health curriculum offered between 7th and 12th grades.”

The Michigan High School Activities Association now requires all varsity, junior varsity, and 9th-grade head coaches of each high school team to have a valid current CPR certification. It is hoped that these measures will help to prevent tragedies like the ones that have befallen Woods and Leonard from happening again in the future.

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