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Coroner: 17-year-old northern Indiana boy died of a heart attack after playing basketball

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Posted at 8:00 PM, Feb 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-08 20:02:03-05

LA PORTE COUNTY, Ind. -- A northern Indiana teen died of a heart attack after he played a basketball game, according to the coroner.

Mark Mayfield, 17, had been playing in an intramural basketball game last month just before he was found unresponsive in the hallway at New Prairie High School. 

Mayfield was taken to La Porte hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

An autopsy was conducted by a forensic pathologist to determine the teen's cause of death. 

“This was a very tough case to determine due to Mark’s age and outward signs of good health. No one expects a teenage athlete to suffer this type of fatal condition. Due to the overwhelming concern, we asked for testing to be fast tracked and while that was done, we are also confident in the expertise and depth at which this case was handled," said La Porte County Coroner Bob Cutler. 

Cutler said the teen died of a fatal arrhythmia that was the result of a previous, undetected heart attack. 

The teen's parents, Mike and Diane Mayfield released the following statement regarding their son's death:

"While we continue to struggle through this terrible time, we are forever grateful for the support our family has received. The entire New Prairie Community has been incredibly supportive as has the Holy Family Church and St. Joseph High School. We cannot say enough for the help and guidance that we’ve received from the La Porte County Coroner’s Office, the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office and everyone rushed to help and that worked so hard to save Mark’s life.  We have lost a wonderful, wonderful son and we hope that everyone will realize the importance of cherishing each and every moment with their children.”