A 14-year-old Lafayette Catholic school student who died on a basketball court of an apparent heart-related issue Thursday night was described as a charismatic, joyful teen who helped others and sought answers to life’s meaning.
Eighth-grader Teddy Ray Daigle, of Breaux Bridge, collapsed while playing for Holy Family Catholic School’s basketball team during a game against First Baptist Church, according to Principal Rogers Griffin.
“He brought the light to all of us here,” Griffin said from the school’s library on Friday afternoon, noting “wherever he went, he brought joy.”
Emergency room examinations at a Lafayette hospital indicated the teen likely died of a heart-related issue, Griffin said, although what kind is unclear.
The St. Martin Parish Coroner’s Office performed an autopsy and released Teddy’s body to his family on Friday. The office closed early Friday afternoon, and information about the cause of death was not available.
Griffin said the family asked school administrators to address inquiries from news reporters about the boy’s death.
Teddy, a basketball lover who also enjoyed riding horses, fell to the ground moments after re-entering the game in its final quarter. After efforts to resuscitate the teen were unsuccessful, he was pronounced dead at Lafayette General Medical Center — where dozens of current and former teachers, staff and student family members gathered on Thursday night in a show of support.
“That tells you a lot about his character,” said the Rev. Robert Seay, a Franciscan priest with the school.
Grief counselors were on hand at the 233-student school on Friday and will remain available to students for as long as is needed, Griffin said. The students in Teddy’s class were saying prayers for him in the school’s chapel on Friday afternoon.
Seay remembered Teddy as a curious teenager who found God during his four years at Holy Family, a Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette school that educates students from pre-K through eighth grade.
“He was a person searching for meaning in life, even at a young age,” Seay said.
Teddy was scheduled to portray Joseph in two weeks during the school’s annual Nativity play — a Catholic tradition that recounts the story of Jesus Christ’s birth — and had proven his charitable spirit by being the first student in his class to collect money for the school’s fundraiser to build homes in Haiti.
“He showed a lot of compassion for others,” said Bernadette Derouen, Holy Family’s assistant principal for development.
Funeral arrangements are pending, but students will memorialize Teddy with candles and a balloon release on Tuesday after the school’s 8 a.m. Mass celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
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