A Rhode Island community is mourning the sudden death of a girls soccer captain who collapsed on the field during a game Saturday night.
Chariho (Wood River Junction, R.I.) senior Maddie Potts, 17, collapsed while taking a penalty kick during a game against Middletown. She was later pronounced dead at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence.
Potts was a resident of Richmond, R.I., and played for both the soccer and lacrosse teams.
According to the Westerly (R.I.) Sun, the girls’ soccer team held an emergency meeting on Sunday morning, and members of the boys’ team joined them as a gesture of support. Chariho Director of Administration Susan Rogers contacted members of the School Committee Sunday morning to tell them the news.
“She was always at School Committee meetings, getting awards,” committee member Catherine Giusti told the Sun. “She was a wonderful kid. What a tragic loss for the parents and for the community.”
Reached Sunday by the Sun, Superintendent of Schools Barry Ricci said he had left the hospital Saturday night believing that Potts would recover and found out early Sunday morning that she had passed away, the victim of a brain aneurysm.
“I cannot believe it,” he said. “We left the hospital at about 11:30, and I left thinking she was going to make it.”
“She was the heart of both teams, always enthusiastic, a great leader, had an amazing work ethic and always was a phenomenal teammate,” Chariho girls soccer coach Brittany Godbout told the Sun. “All of the girls, from seniors to freshmen, looked up to her and idolized her. She will be impossible to replace, but we will utilize the energy and spirit and work ethic that she brought every day to practice and games throughout the rest of our season.”
A vigil was held in Potts’ honor Monday night.
Potts’ mother, Stephanie, spoke to the crowd at the vigil, telling those who gathered to remember her daughter and to continue to pursue the activities and sports they love.
“Soccer did not take her life, an unexpected brain abnormality did, we should all be so lucky to die while participating in the activity we have the most passion for,” her mother said, per WPRI. “She left her soul on that 30-yard line. We can all be confident that she scored the last goal she was about to take. Just as she was being recruited to a higher level that needed her as their captain.”
The outpouring of support and tributes to Potts have been on display throughout the R.I. athletic community.
A funeral service will be held on Friday.