FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)- A teenager died while playing rugby in Timnath on Saturday afternoon. Matthew Hammerdorfer, 17, collapsed during a game.
The game was being played at a field at 2221 S. Larimer Road in Timnath. Hammerdorfer was airlifted to Medical Center of the Rockies, where he died a short time later. He played for the Fort Collins Youth Rugby league.
Firefighters said they were called on a report of a seizure.
“He was tackling somebody who had the ball and he kind of had him in a high tackle,” teammate Austin Gloss said.
He had fouled the other player and the referee blew his whistle and Hammerdorfer stood up.
“He got up and started to walk a couple of steps and collapsed,” Gloss said.
An autopsy showed sudden cardiac arrest due to a congenital condition that enlarges the heart. Gloss said Hammerdorfer had a few corrective surgeries when he was younger, but never thought it would come to this.
Hammerdorfer was a junior at Poudre High School. After hearing of his death a Facebook page was created in his honor. Hundreds of people have left messages of love and well wishes for the family.
His coach, Greg, left a message on the league’s website on Saturday that said, “Gentlemen. I don’t know how to make this easy. Matt did not make it. The doctors said the impact of the tackle was at just the right moment in the heart rhythm and stopped the proper heart function. There was nothing they could do. Please keep his family in your thoughts.”