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Long Island student, 15, with a ‘clean bill of health’ collapses and dies while running laps


Long Island student, 15, with a ‘clean bill of health’ collapses and dies while running laps at school basketball tryouts

  • Carmyne Payton collapsed on court while running laps at Copiague High School
  • His mother, Tiffany Wofford, rushed to the school after receiving a phone call  
  • She watched as medics tried to resuscitate her son, saying: ‘He never woke up’  
  • Sophomore described as fit, healthy. Cause of death has not yet been revealed 


A fit and healthy 15-year-old has died during tryouts for his high school basketball team.

Carmyne Payton collapsed on the court while running laps at Copiague High School in Suffolk County, New York, on Thursday.

His mother, Tiffany Wofford, said she rushed to the school after receiving a phone call and watched as paramedics tried to resuscitate her son.

‘He never woke up,’ the distraught mother-of-four told Eyewitness News. ‘He never woke up.’ 

The sophomore was described as having ‘a clean bill of health’, and a cause of death has not yet been revealed. 

He was not vaccinated against Covid-19 and had been due to receive his first shot next week. 

Carmyne Payton collapsed on the court while running laps at Copiague High School in Suffolk County, New York, on Thursday.

His mother, Tiffany Wofford, said she rushed to the school after receiving a phone call and watched as paramedics tried to resuscitate her son. 'He never woke up,' the distraught mother-of-four told Eyewitness News . 'He never woke up.'

His mother, Tiffany Wofford, said she rushed to the school after receiving a phone call and watched as paramedics tried to resuscitate her son. ‘He never woke up,’ the distraught mother-of-four told Eyewitness News . ‘He never woke up.’

Carmyne was described as a doting son, whose elder brother had lost his 'best friend' and whose three younger sisters had lost their protector. His father Arthur Payton said: 'His sisters - he looked over them like it was nothing. Now he's got to be their guardian angel.'

Carmyne was described as a doting son, whose elder brother had lost his ‘best friend’ and whose three younger sisters had lost their protector. His father Arthur Payton said: ‘His sisters – he looked over them like it was nothing. Now he’s got to be their guardian angel.’

Carmyne playing basketball with a friend in an undated video from his family

Carmyne playing basketball with a friend in an undated video from his family

Wofford said her son adored basketball and was excited to get on the team.

‘And he’s like, ‘Mom, I made the cut! I’m so excited,” she told the broadcaster.

She said she thought her son must have broken a wrist or something similar and was stunned when she arrived at the school to see him on lying on the floor.

‘I wasn’t going there expecting to see that,’ she said. ‘I just want to know what happened. I just want to know if the autopsy can tell me something.’

His father Arthur Payton told News 12: ‘I got here and seen him on the stretcher, them doing CPR, just took my mind away.

‘I’ve been in EMS for 18 years and seeing that – they’re trying to save my own son. It hurt different.’

Wofford said Carmyne was a doting son, saying: ‘Anything I’d ask he was ‘OK mom, OK mom, OK mom.’ I don’t know what I’m going to do without him.’

His father said that Carmyne’s elder brother had lost his best friend and his three younger sisters had lost their protector.

‘His sisters – he looked over them like it was nothing,’ Payton said. ‘Now he’s got to be their guardian angel.’

Wofford said Carmyne had asthma and had a heart murmur which had been treated and went away many years ago. 

His father Arthur Payton told News 12 : 'I got here and seen him on the stretcher, them doing CPR, just took my mind away. I've been in EMS for 18 years and seeing that - they're trying to save my own son. It hurt different.'

His father Arthur Payton told News 12 : ‘I got here and seen him on the stretcher, them doing CPR, just took my mind away. I’ve been in EMS for 18 years and seeing that – they’re trying to save my own son. It hurt different.’

Copiague High School sent a letter to parents on Thursday night and said it would be offering counseling services for all the kids at school.

Students were still trying to come to terms with what happened today. 

‘He was a great person, very fun to be around,’ Joseph Zambrano told News 12. ‘Just somebody you always wanted to be with.’

Payton said they will hold a vigil for Carmyne this evening. 

Suffolk County police say they are investigating the death, but it does not appear criminal in nature.

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