Minden 8-year-old collapses and dies during Saturday sports practice

Chalk hand prints cover a wall on the playground of Minden Elementary School. On the asphalt, someone has written, "We miss you Britt!"

Students at the school drew the tributes in remembrance of their classmate, 8-year-old Britton Mattinson, who died Saturday after collapsing during flag football practice.

"We gave 400 kids chalk and told them to express themselves," said Minden Principal Ken Stoll.

Stoll said a parent had given him the idea of decorating the playground as a way for students to grieve.

"There's no manual for this kind of thing, and it's tough," said Stoll.

He also said he was amazed with how parents, co-workers and friends came together to help the family.

"We had a staff meeting Sunday, and it was amazing in itself that people came in. Everyone from custodians to teachers showed up to help."

Stoll said there is a sign-up sheet in the office of Minden Elementary where parents and friends can sign up to cook meals for the family.

He also said an account has been set up at Bank of America to assist the family financially.

"We're making sure the Mattinsons are taken care of," said Stoll.

Britt was a student in his mother's third-grade class at Minden Elementary. Robyn Mattinson has been teaching at the school since 1996. Her husband and Britt's father, Donovan Mattinson, teaches science at Douglas High School.

Monday morning, extra counselors were assigned to Minden Elementary and placed in classrooms where students had personal ties to Britt. Stoll said prior to Monday the school had notified as many parents as it could, letting them know what had happened and allowing them to prepare their children for a difficult week.

"The outpouring has been phenomenal," Stoll said. "Everyone knew Brit. He was so nice, bright and funny, such a unique great little guy."

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office and East Fork Fire District responded to a call at 10:23 a.m. on Saturday. Arriving on the scene, the grassy area near the Douglas County School District Office, authorities said they found a young male who had collapsed during a flag football practice.

Authorities said the victim was immediately transported to Minden Medical Center where a care flight helicopter was on scene preparing to transport the victim to Reno.

But according to authorities resuscitation efforts made at Minden Medical Center were unsuccessful, and the boy was pronounced dead at 11:35 a.m.

An autopsy on Tuesday was inconclusive, pending further testing.

Anyone interested in making donations or helping in any way can contact the following people:

Monica Hart of Minden Elementary School at 782-5510; Dori Draper, Jeanne Turnbeaugh or Keith Cole of Douglas High School at 782-5136.


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