HARRISBURG, Pa (WHTM) — An 19-year-old baseball player has died after a makeshift dugout structure collapsed on him in Harrisburg, according to Central Penn College President Linda Fedrizzi-Williams.
The Cumberland County Coroner’s office confirmed the player’s identity as Angel Mercado, saying he died at Holy Spirit Hospital from a traumatic head injury with the manner of death as accidental.
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 field, but the league did not have permission to build the structure.
Around 3 p.m. on Monday, the structure collapsed on Mercado while they were attempting to take it down, leaving him unable to breathe. The team’s coach Gerardo Diaz says he performed CPR on Mercado and that he had woken up after the accident before being taken to the hospital where he later died.
Central Penn College says Mercado played for the school’s baseball team, though the accident occurred while he was participating with a Harrisburg International League baseball team.
In a statement from Fedrizzi-Williams, she says the college is “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 yesterday and expressed their love to their brother.”
Harrisburg officials say they are documenting the scene and will take down the remaining structure.
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.”
By Wednesday morning the full structure was removed from the field, which remains closed at this time.