Andy Pena and his family were in Boston to attend Andy’s younger brother’s swim meet. But Andy’s younger brother wasn’t the only athlete in the family. So, too, was Andy. He ran track and was also a member of his high school’s cross country team.
So when he decided to go for a run on a treadmill at the Boston-area hotel in which his family was staying, he was simply doing what the energetic and funny teen had done countless times before. Which is all the more reason why his sudden death has the entire Darien, CT community in mourning.
Pena collapsed while running on that treadmill this past Friday. Shortly thereafter, he was pronounced dead. He’s the fourth teen athlete to die while engaging in his sport this month. On March 3, Wes Leonard collapsed just minutes after hitting the game-winning shot that capped his team’s perfect regular season. He was pronounced dead after after paramedics tried in vain to revive him by performing CPR as he lay on the court. He was just 16. It turned out Leonard had an enlarged heart.
A few days later, Matthew Hammerdorfer, 17, collapsed after taking a hit while playing Rugby near Denver. And on March 12, Robert Garza died during a break from the AAU basketball game in which he was competing. As with Leonard, local paramedics tried to administered CPR, but failed to bring the young man back to life.
Sadly, Pena has become the latest reminder of how fragile life can be. Like the other three young people who passed away this month while participating in their sport, Pena appeared as healthy as could be.