HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A 19-year-old baseball player in Pennsylvania has died after a makeshift dugout structure collapsed on him, according to the president of Central Penn College.
The Cumberland County Coroner’s office confirmed the player’s identity as Angel Mercado, who attended the college, saying he died at Holy Spirit Hospital from an accidental traumatic head injury.
According to City of Harrisburg Communications Director Matt Maisel, Mercado was part of the Harrisburg International League, which consists of older students from multiple area schools who had permission to play on the rented field where the accident happened.
However, Maisel said, they did not have a permit to build the structure, which the baseball team’s coach, Gerardo Diaz, said was being constructed to protect the players from the rain and sun.
Around 3 p.m. on Monday, the structure collapsed on Mercado while they were attempting to take it down, leaving him unable to breathe. Diaz said he performed CPR on Mercado and that he had woken up before he was taken to the hospital.
The league is not affiliated with the college, Central Penn said.
According to a statement from Central Penn College President Linda Fedrizzi-Williams, they “are mourning the heart-wrenching loss of one of our own, a promising young athlete who senselessly lost his life while helping others enjoy the sport he loved so much.”
The statement also said that the “baseball team said their goodbyes” and “expressed their love to their brother.”
Harrisburg Mayor Wanda R.D. Williams issued the following statement on Wednesday morning:
“We are devastated to learn of the passing of Angel Mercado-Ocasio. Anytime someone passes, we lose a little bit of who we are. It hurts even more when it’s one of our own. Angel was our son; a proud Harrisburg Cougar, and a stand-out, promising young athlete. He died helping others around the sport he loved. It’s heart-wrenching. Angel embraced so many people and now we need to embrace his memory. We ask everyone in the community to pray for his family, his friends, and his teammates, as we get through this impossibly difficult time together. The City of Harrisburg would like to extend our sincere condolences and prayers to the family.”
The college said counselors are being offered to students and staff.
By Wednesday morning, the structure was fully removed from the field, which remained closed. Harrisburg officials said they were documenting the scene.