PACIFIC PALISADES (CBSLA) – Investigators believe the death of a 17-year-old All-City soccer player at Palisades Charter High School over the weekend at a park in Chino Hills after practicing with his team may have been heat-related.
Shane Thomas left the field at Ayala Park Saturday to carry some soccer balls to his coach’s car. When he did not return, teammates searched for him and found him unresponsive, according to reports.
Paramedics were called but Thomas could not be revived. His parents were at the park at the time.
Temperatures on Saturday reached a high of 111 at noon in Chino Hills.
Thomas collapsed around 12:15 p.m. and was transported to Chino Valley Medical Center, where he died at 1:13 p.m., according to Gabriel Morales, supervising investigator with San Bernardino County Sheriff Coroners office.
Investigators say a final determination on a cause of death won’t be known until the autopsy is complete, Morales said.
FC Golden State Executive Director Jimmy Nordberg released a statement saying, “We are truly saddened by his loss and our thoughts and prayers are with his family. He was found after practice away from the field and we are all devastated here at the club.”
Eli Hallak, a longtime certified trainer at St. Francis High School, said with the heat index that day, no one should have been playing.
“There was an extreme heat warning,” he said. “You were not supposed to be outside doing any kind of activity that day. It was just exceptionally hot.”
A GoFundMe page for Thomas described the young athlete as “determined, hardworking, graceful, smart and all around a beautiful soul.”
Thomas, who had recently joined the elite club team, was set to be team captain this coming season after he scored 19 goals as a junior for the Dolphins.
He is survived by his mother, father and sister.