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Town Huddles in Wake of Youth Football Player's Death

Paul Steinbach

Residents of Pittsburgh's Chartiers City neighborhood gathered Thursday, a day removed from the death of 13-year-old youth league football player Jordan Duckett.

Duckett, a member of the Westside Mustangs, collapsed just before 8 p.m. Wednesday as he ran off the field during practice and died about an hour later at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Children's Hospital.

“Chartiers City, we’re almost one block away from being Mayberry," Gerald Akrie, a local pastor who lives across the street from Windgap Field, told KDKA in Pittsburgh. “It’s a tight-knit community and something like this just galvanizes us even closer together, it really does. There’s baseball games, softball tournaments, sometimes I come over just to watch. Something like this, we all just have to take it personally.”

The Westside Mustangs Youth Athletic Association, which serves some 150 young athletes from surrounding communities, is in the process of figuring out what to do next beyond last night's vigil at the field. An association administrator told KDKA that community members “need to show these kids how to cope with a grief this sudden and this deep.”

Within hours of the tragedy, the WMYAA announced the following on Facebook: "Westside Mustangs Youth Athletic Association will hold an emergency meeting at Chartiers Field for Board members, Coaches, Parents, Players and Cheerleaders at 5:30pm. The Mustangs Family will come together and wrap our arms around this family who have suffered a significant loss. We will work towards continuous support for the family and all parties involved. We will have Grief counselors available today for support while we are dealing with such a significant lost. This is open to ALL Organizations or anyone that would like to attend.... #WESTSIDESRONG"

The WMYAA has also made available $20 T-shirts with "Westside Strong JD #9" printed on them.

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