Ferndale teen collapses, dies during track practice

16-year-old Mario Campbell suddenly dies during track practice at Ferndale High School


FERNDALE, Mich. – Mario Campbell was an honor student at Ferndale High School and an athlete with the track team.

On Thursday afternoon, it was too cold outside so the athletes were running the school hallways. That's when 16-year-old Mario suddenly collapsed. Coaches and paramedics worked to save the teen but could not.

Damon Autry is a cousin of Mario's father, whose mother died just before Christmas.

"Not even three months later he is burying his 16-year-old kid, of natural causes? I mean, that's enough really to make even the strongest among us cry," said Autry.

Mario's father said his son had asthma but was in good health and had passed his physical for the track team. Mario wanted a career in either music or law.

"Mario Campbell, what an awesome student. He could fit in with any crowd. You would always see Mario with a smile on his face. I mean, just a great student," said Lisa Williams, Ferndale High School principal.

A figurine in the principal's office symbolizes how the school is holding together. They're honoring Mario with yellow ribbons and a special mural. On Friday morning, there was a moment of silence.

"We also has this quote that everyone is saying, "Be like Mario," just to continue his legacy," said Williams.

Autry said the family work through this tragedy.

"It's a tough situation for the family. We'll get through it, though. We'll get through it together," he said.