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Colorado Athletes Among Those Who Got Sick In Las Vegas Tournament

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The Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas (credit: CBS)

The Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas (credit: CBS)

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DENVER (CBS4) – Dozens of students, coaches and parents got sick during a youth football tournament in Las Vegas and now health experts are trying to figure out what happened.

When the group of third grade football players got an invitation to play in a National Youth Tournament in Las Vegas they jumped at the opportunity to show off their skills. The Bear Valley Generals walked away with a first place trophy, but some of their parents and a few of their players also walked away with a violent stomach virus.

“My stomach hurt,” player Ronnie Gallegos said. “I was sick and didn’t want to get all the other kids sick.”

Nevada health officials now believe that bug spread to nearly 80 other children competing at the event. Many of the cases were reported from players and parents at the Rio Hotel and Casino. Rich Martinez, director of the Bear Valley Generals youth program, says that’s where the team was staying.

“Poor kids; there was kids getting off the elevator unable to keep their lunch or breakfast down,” Martinez said.

It’s not clear what exactly caused the bug. The organization running the tournament believes it might just be a flu-like illness spreading in western states, possibly norovirus. But the Nevada Division of Health is investigating to find out exactly what it was that sent some of those teams home.

“You could see them in their uniform, they’d traveled this long way and wanted to be part of nationals,” Martinez said.

The Generals fought through it right to the first place victory. Martinez says they were lucky they only had a few players sick and were able to keep playing.

Organizers say only a small portion of the 7,000 who participated got sick.

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