A student from the University of Nevada Las Vegas has died after he collapsed at a fraternity charity boxing match.
On Tuesday, November, 23, Nathan Tyler Valencia passed away four days after taking part in an off-campus annual ‘Fight Night’ run by fraternity Kappa Sigma, at Sahara Events Centre.
Nick Lasso, his family’s attorney, said that despite having no previous boxing experience, the 20-year-old kinesiology major took part in the ‘main event’ of the fight on November 19.
The university has since described the young student’s death as a ‘tragic incident’.
In a letter to the rest of the campus community, UNLV President Keith Whitfield said that the student collapsed at the match ‘soon after his fight’, CNN reports.
Valencia’s girlfriend, Lacey Foster, also confirmed to 13 Action News that the 20-year-old passed out after around five minutes.
A statement shared on behalf of Valencia’s family read:
The Valencia family is heartbroken over the loss of Nathan. Our preliminary investigation reveals mistakes were made and safety precautions overlooked. We will be completing a full investigation to determine how UNLV and the Kappa Sigma Fraternity could allow and promote an event like this to take place.
College students should not be placed in a situation where they are pitted against each other for combat. ‘Kappa Sigma Fight Night’ is an event that has been held annually and was well known to both UNLV and the national Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
The student’s family resolved that they would ‘leave no stone unturned to determine how a 20-year-old ended up in a school-sanctioned amateur fight that cost him his life’. The statement asked for members of the public to give the family ‘privacy during this time to grieve’.
University President Keith Whitfield addressed the campus with ‘a heavy heart and profound sadness’ to share the news of Valencia’s passing.
He noted how ‘shocked and heartbroken’ the institution was to ‘mourn the loss of one of [its] own’ and how his ‘deepest sympathies go out to [Valencia’s] family, friends, and love ones’.
Whitfield stated that the university would be ‘committing all available resources to review the incident and determine how off-campus events like these can be as safe as possible’.
An official cause of death has not yet been released, however during his hospital stay, Valencia is reportedly thought to have suffered from internal bleeding, according to doctors.
According to Lasso, who works for the Richard Harris Law firm, the student died just four days before he was due to turn 21 years old.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department have started to investigate the incident, but Lasso confirmed that his law firm will also be conducting a ‘full investigation’.
The investigations will scrutinise all aspects of the fight night, from the medical supervision present on November 19, to the officiating of the event, and as to what safety protocols were put in place.
A vigil for the student was held on November 27 at the UNLV Alumni Amphitheatre and a fundraising page has since been set up to raise money for Valencia’s family.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
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