A UCF student who collapsed in the Health and Public Affairs 1 building Monday afternoon has died, according to reports from friends and a UCF Police Department press release.
Michael Namey, a freshman software engineering major, died Tuesday morning at the Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford. Namey, 18, had been taken to the Oviedo ER Monday after he collapsed in class around noon and was later transported to the hospital, according to the release.
Daniel Hanna, a freshman biomedical sciences major and one of Namey’s closest friends, said that although the incident happened around noon Monday, he did not hear about it until Monday evening after his flag football game.
“I checked my phone and there were tons of messages, and his older brother and girlfriend had called and said he was in critical condition in the ICU,” Hanna said. “We’ve been hearing it was intense cardiac arrest, but there’s no definite word.”
Manny Orozco Ballestas, a UCF student and first responder, wrote an open Facebook post addressing the situation.
“Yesterday at around 11:55 a.m., a UCF student collapsed in his class due to what is now believed to have been a massive heart attack. As a first responder, I was his fighting chance. I did everything I was ever trained to do but I was unsuccessful,” Ballestas wrote. “The image of his face as I gave him his last breaths and pumped his chest will never leave me.”
Hanna said Namey’s girlfriend told him that he wasn’t feeling well the night before and thought he had a cold, so he went to bed early. He also said Namey had previously had a seizure at a younger age, but said it is unclear if either fact is related to his collapse.
“[He] was an extremely intelligent kid. He was a natural-born leader and people just flocked toward him,” Hanna said. “He was so nice, so caring, he would give you the shirt off his back. It’s saddening to see him go because he was a great kid.”
Ballestas addressed the community and fellow UCF students in his post, pleading for people to familiarize themselves with the basics of CPR/AED. He also addressed Namey’s parents in his Facebook post, writing that he would work to assure that similar situations can be prevented in the future.
“I will work every day, as a student of UCF, an individual of society and hopefully one day as a politician, to assure that what happened to your son can be prevented in schools nationwide,” Ballestas wrote. “Whether it be by spreading the importance of knowing CPR, adding more AED machines to schools, I will make his life meaningful somehow, someway. I promise.”
Ballestas declined to comment further on the situation.
UCF PD are not treating this as a suspicious death, but it still remains under active investigation. According to the release, UCF counselors were available to students Monday and Tuesday, and will speak with the class when it meets again Wednesday.
“Our condolences go out to Michael’s family and friends,” UCF President John C. Hitt said in the release. “The unexpected loss of someone so young is truly heartbreaking. We thank the students in the classroom who so bravely came to the aid of a fellow Knight, and we also keep them in our thoughts.”
Danielle Hendrix is a News Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @ByDaniHendrix or email her at DanielleH@CentralFloridaFuture.com.