High School Sophomore, Ashari Hughes, Dies After Suffering Injury During Flag Football Game in Las Vegas

Ashari Hughes, a sophomore student-athlete at Desert Oasis High School in Las Vegas, suffered a ‘medical episode’ during a flag football game against Valley High School last week. School staff and family members provided immediate medical aid before paramedics transported her to a hospital. 

One of the parents of Hughes’ teammate, Aphelia Phifer-Hill, has been a registered nurse for 26 years and performed CPR on the 16-year-old girl. Phifer-Hill said she eventually got a heart rhythm back following chest compressions and that an external defibrillator was used. At that point, she was taken to the hospital. 

Shortly after arriving at the hospital, Ashari Hughes passed away – the exact cause of death is still being determined by the coroner’s office. A vigil is planned for Monday afternoon. The news comes just a week after Buffalo Bills’ player Damar Hamlin collapsed and nearly died during a Monday Night Football game.

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“This week has been extremely difficult for the Desert Oasis High School family. During this time, I have witnessed our community come together to support one another and I would like to thank each and every one of you for your kindness and care toward each other,” said Ian Salzman, principal at Desert Oasis.

In the statement, published on January 7 in the weekly letter to parents, Salzman asked for everyone’s “patience and compassion” as the community works through the grieving process. “We have our school counselors and other staff ready to offer support to those looking for someone to talk with,” he added.

In response to the sudden tragedy, which occurred on Thursday, all sporting activities at Desert Oasis were canceled on Friday. Salzman offered a number of resources that students, family members, and staff members can and should take advantage of if needed. He thanked everyone for their support. 

“Desert Oasis High School is a tremendous community of caring individuals. As we continue to stand together and support each other during this time, please know that there are always community resources available to assist,” he added. It’s yet another somber reminder of how precious and, often, short life is. 

GoFundMe for Ashari Hughes Raises More Than $50,000

In the days following her death, support continues to pour in from across the nation as more people are made aware of the events that unfolded last Thursday. It has especially gained attention with what happened to Damar Hamlin – unfortunately, Ashari Hughes is being dealt a much different outcome.

To help pay for funeral costs, the grieving Hughes family has set up a GoFundMe page for their daughter – which was created on January 6th with a goal of raising $100,000 in her honor. In just three days, the page has already received more than 1,000 donations totaling more than $55,250 – what a response!

We are doing a fundraiser for our daughter Ashari and everything helps. As a family, we are thankful. Ashari was 16 years old and was “playing the game she loves, football. Little did we know this would be her final sophomore game. She was passionate, loving, and determined,” her family wrote on the page. 

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“She loved music, dancing, and being around all the people she loved. She called football the real love of her life! She loved hard and was loved by many. She will be missed by all of us. Hold the #7 up high for her! It was her first football number and she always wanted to represent it well!” her family continued.

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