18-year-old dies after collapsing while playing basketball - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Metro Detroit teen dies after collapsing while playing basketball

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Bryson Salem Bryson Salem
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (myFOXDetroit.com) -

A Commerce Township family is grieving the loss of a teenage son.

18-year-old Bryson Salem collapsed around 5:00 p.m. Tuesday while playing basketball at Life Time Fitness in Commerce Township.  Efforts to revive him failed.  He was later pronounced dead at Henry Ford Hospital in West Bloomfield.

Brandon Salem said family meant everything to his brother.

"My brother was the best brother anyone could ever ask for.  I mean, he had my back a thousand percent of the way.  In school... anyone ever picked on me, he would have my back a thousand percent of the way.  He would stand up for me.  He would do anything."

His family also said they were having trouble getting answers about how long it took to get help for their son.  Jason Thunstrom, vice president of corporate communications for Life Time Fitness, released the following statement to Fox 2.

"Our heartfelt condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to the Salem family in light of this tragedy, which is weighing heavily on our hearts and minds. We currently are collaborating with local authorities to assist with their investigation. The preliminary results of our internal investigation indicate a very rapid response by the Life Time team, both in contacting 911 and engaging our internal emergency response team. In spite of these efforts, we join with the local community this evening in mourning this tragic loss."

"It's really tragic when a totally healthy young person dies suddenly.  There are some hidden underlying cardiac conditions, either heart muscle diseases or electrical abnormalities of the heart, that you never would suspect, but that can be a fatal condition," said Cardiologist David Haines with Beaumont Hospital's Student Heart Screening Program.

According to the non-profit Youth Sports Safety Alliance, sports related deaths of young athletes happen on average fewer than 100 times a year.  The leading cause is sudden cardiac arrest.  95 percent die before they even get to hospital.

While we don't know what caused Salem's death, we do know he just had a healthy check-up.  Haines explained sometimes the problem is undetectable.

"All of these conditions are very rare and there are some even with extensive testing that still won't be picked up, so screening will never be perfect, but we hope we can pick up those rare and potentially dangerous problems."

Autopsy results could take days or weeks, and only then will this family get some much needed answers.

Salem recently graduated from Walled Lake Central High School.  He had just started his freshman year at University of Detroit Mercy and was studying to become a dentist.

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