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Cause of death revealed for Las Vegas student who died during flag football game


Authorities say Ashari Hughes, 16, died after suffering a medical emergency during a flag football game at her high school in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo courtesy of the Hughes family)
Authorities say Ashari Hughes, 16, died after suffering a medical emergency during a flag football game at her high school in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo courtesy of the Hughes family)
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Anomalous origin of the right coronary artery from the left coronary sinus of Valsalva.

It’s the long-term for a heart condition that the Clark County Coroner said suddenly took the life of 16-year-old Ashari Hughes.

But what exactly is it?

The reason why the heart has four chambers, the reason why we have, you know, multiple lung lobes but two sets of lungs, is so that if there is a compromise on one, we could cover it by the second just like why we have two kidneys. But now and then, if there is some restriction on that left area, if both the coronary arteries are coming from that sinus, sadly, it could restrict blood flow,” said Las Vegas Physician Daliah Wachs.

Wachs said restricted blood flow leads to a lack of oxygen and causes a sudden cardiac arrest.

She said it’s a condition that most are born with and is not always discovered.

We are very thorough with sports physicals, and we screen for multiple cardiac anomalous, but sometimes these things can slip through the crack if there wasn’t a murmur or prior symptoms like shortness of breath, fainting,” she said.

Clark County School District student-athletes are required to undergo a physical exam before they can participate in a sport, and Ashari’s grandfather, Sammie Toles, said she visited her doctor a week before she died.

The thing about it is the week before, she had an issue, and she went to the doctor, and she got cleared to play this game. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way,” said Toles.

Wachs said the rare heart condition often isn’t detected on a normal exam.

A lot of cardiologists agree with me that if we can ultrasound the hearts during the sports physicals, we could pick up a lot of anomalies,” said Wachs.

Ashari, who was a student at Desert Oasis High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, died after collapsing during a flag football game at the school on Thursday.

Desert Oasis Principal Ian Salzman said staff immediately began to provide medical aid to the student and continued until paramedics arrived.

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that the student passed away," Salzman wrote. "The school and the entire district mourn the loss of this young life."

Salzman asked families to monitor any signs of grief or behavioral changes in children, noting they might not know how to express themselves and could experience disbelief, anger or grief.

Anyone with questions or concerns is directed to contact the school.

More than $55,000 had been raised on a GoFundMe page for Hughes' funeral costs as of Tuesday morning. The goal is $100,000.

The student's death happened the same week as Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed after suffering cardiac arrest during a Monday Night Football game in Cincinnati against the Bengals on Jan. 2.

Since then, Hamlin's doctors said the football star has made significant progress, as he is breathing on his own and talking.

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