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Football accident kills boy

Austin Sergeev dies at hospital
by: , Austin Sergeev

Austin Sergeev, an 11-year-old Lake Oswego boy, died Tuesday after an accident playing flag football at Palisades Elementary School.

He was pronounced dead at Leg-acy Meridian Park Hospital in Tualatin. According to a deputy state medical examiner, he died of blunt force trauma to the heart, contradicting initial assumptions that the blow was to his throat. The condition is called commotioco cardis.

'The medical response unit that tried to revive the young man was operating on the assuption that it was the throat,' said Superintendent Bill Korach. 'Now we know that the football, not the foot, hit him directly in the chest.'

During lunch recess, Sergeev, a fifth grader, was blocking a punt when the ball hit him. The other students alerted the supervisor on duty who tried to revive him and sent for help via walkie-talkies.

Lake Oswego Fire Department crews responded to a 9-1-1 call and an ambulance transported him to Legacy Meridian Park Hospital, said Gert Zoutendijk, deputy fire marshal.

'Our ability to do something about this after it had taken place was very unlikely,' said Korach. 'We had great support from Lake Oswego Fire Department. The fire chief was right there with us all afternoon. His response team did a great job getting there and trying to revive the young man.'

His mother, Sandy Ivanov was able to be with him at the hospital. His father Alex Sergeev just arrived in Lake Oswego from out of town. His grandparents are Nadia Ivanova and Gennadiy Ivanov.

'He was just loved by everyone,' said Pat Bilow, a friend and neighbor of the family. 'He loved sports. He loved to go the Greentree pool. He loved camping. He loved to play outside. He loved being a boy.

'Since we don't have children, we kind of adopted Austin. I felt like his Aunt Pat,' she said. 'I just bought him a little sled Christmas tree with the word Austin on it from Michaels.'

Sandy, who owns Palisades Homes and Gardens, moved to Lake Oswego so Austin could start kindergarten at Palisades.

Wednesday morning the field at Palisades where the accident took place was marked with flowers and cards.

The teachers were given a 'characterization' of the situation to tell their students. Some students participated in class discussions while others made cards for the family. Anyone - student or teacher - who needs one-on-one support from a counselor or psychologist is also encouraged to use the district's services.

'You have students that are in kindergarten through sixth grade, so their ability to comprehend it is going to be different for different students and age groups,' said Korach. 'We will do a full investigation of the circumstances, but right now our focus is on the psychological well-being of our students.'

Bilow, who is president of Oswego Pioneer Cemetery, has secured a donated plot for Austin. Additionally, a benevolent account has been set up at US Bank (not Bank of America as originally reported) to help pay for the funeral. To donate, visit any US Bank and ask to contribute to the Austin Sergeev fund. Young's Funeral Home in Tigard is handling the arrangements.

Services had not been scheduled by press time Wednesday.