Lincoln-Way Central football player suffered heart attack - KMSP-TV

Lincoln-Way Central football player suffered heart attack

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NEW LENOX, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A 16-year-old high school football player died Monday after suffering a heart attack while exercising in his southwest suburban home, the Herald-News is reporting.

Austin M. Lempera was jumping rope in the basement of his New Lenox Township home before he collapsed and was found by his mother, who went to get him for dinner, according to Austin's brother, Westley Lempera.

Will County Sheriff's police said the teen was taken to Silver Cross Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

"They could not get his heart to pump," his brother said.

The attending physician said nothing appeared to be suspicious and it appeared to be a case of a cardiac arrhythmia condition, perhaps undiagnosed, according to police.

Westley Lempera, 22, said his brother was "very physically fit" and had a major physical exam just two weeks ago.

"This is so freaky," he said.

Austin went to Lincoln-Way Central High on Monday, then went to work at his dad's business in Mokena. Jumping rope was part of Austin's normal routine, Westley said.

Friends and family gathered at the teen's home Tuesday and celebrated his life, Westley said.

"He loved life. There was never a dull moment," Westley said. "Everyone got along with him."

Westley, home from Eastern Illinois University for Thanksgiving, said he was happy that he had just spent the weekend with his younger brother at a classic car show in Rosemont.

Lempera, a junior, was a reserve defensive lineman on the Lincoln-Way Central football team.

In a statement issued by Lincoln-Way Community High School District 210, Supt. Lawrence Wyllie called him "a fine student ... and a loyal Knight. He was a very hardworking student and a wonderful young man. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."

Lempera's death came nearly eight months after the death of another Lincoln-Way Central student. Then-senior Tom Schuman, 18, was found unresponsive in his bed March 31 in his family's New Lenox home.

Will County Coroner Patrick O'Neil said Schuman died of natural causes — an undiagnosed cardiac condition.

Initial autopsy results were inconclusive and required further testing, which revealed the cardiac condition.

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