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.”


(credit: CBS)

Comments (6)
  1. Jeff Rupp says:

    I’d also like to send along my condolences to Matthew’s family, friends, and teammates on behalf of the boys high school team I coach in the Washington DC area. What a terrible loss. You’re in our thoughts and prayers.

  2. Joe Kloiber says:

    My name is Joe Kloiber, president of the Milwaukee Westside Harlequins RFC, a division I mens’ team in Wisconsin. Please pass on our condolences to his family, friends and teammates. We understand your loss, as one of our best first side players died last April of a broken neck suffered during a tackle. We were able to raise the money to take Phillippe Leka back to his homeland, Fiji. None of us blame the game, nor should anyone else in this incident. Accidents happen, sometimes doing something you love.

  3. Michelle says:

    Wow Mr. Jones, do you know how to read? Clearly you don’t based on your literacy skill displayed above. Let me spell it out for you, the kid was playing rugby, had a seizure that led to a heart attack. What an insensitive jerk you are to have the audacity to post something so hurtful. Thank God for Karma because it’s coming at you ten fold you tool.

  4. Joseph Jones says:

    Is it ironical that kids are getting more out control because of LIBERALISM in there schools. Schools teaches and promotes the ideas of killing others. So I am not surprise of anything that kids do in schools that leads to death.

    1. ron says:

      You are obviously an idiot….politics has absolutely nothing to do with this incident…The young man was playing a sport with a heart condition, very sad to see anyone lose their life at such a young age. And for you to suggest or infer that politics had something to do with it, is completely asinine.

    2. Tish Ash says:

      The Ash family sends their condolences and prayers to Matt and his family. Our son plays for SYC WestEnd in Springfield, VA, so I know Matt truly loved the sport. Words cannot express the loss of a child and we will continue to pray for Matt and his family.

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