Madie Nicpon, a 20-year-old Tufts University student and star athlete, died on Sunday after choking at a hot dog eating contest. Madelyn “Madie” Nicpon, graduated from Suffern High School in New York, and was a biopsychology major and lacrosse player.
She reportedly fell unconscious during the hot dog eating contest, which was being held at an off-campus charity fundraiser, before passing away at a Boston Hospital.
In a statement written by Tufts University President Anthony Monaco and the Dean of Student Affairs, Camille Lizarríbar, the school said that, “In the face of this painful loss, our hearts go out to Madie’s family and friends.”
Approximately 3,000 students, faculty, and staff gathered Sunday night at the Gantcher Center on Tufts University’s campus to remember Madie Nicpon, followed by a candlelight vigil at Bello Field, “where Madie had spent many hours with her teammates and friends.”
“The number of community members who turned out to lend support to each other, to Madie’s friends, and to her family was a testament to how many lives Madie touched during her time at Tufts,” the school wrote.
Nicknamed “Scooter,” Madie was remembered by her teammates, who lit candles around her lacrosse jersey, No. 2
“Scooter was a true friend and teammate,” her team wrote on Instagram. “She truly valued her relationships with her teammates and coaches. Her reach was far beyond our team — she was a true connector on campus and touched every single person she met.”
“She has and will continue to inspire us every day,” the team continued, “We should all strive to live life a little bit more like Scooter did — a person that valued love, loyalty, compassion and friendship.”
A GoFundMe page was set up by the Tufts lacrosse team to help support Madie Nicpon’s family, which has raised over $161,000 over the course of just four days. The money will go to medical bills and funeral expenses.
Madie is survived by hr mother Kathy, a nurse; her father Chris, a physician; her older brother, Brian, and her young brother, Mikey.
According to The Journal News, a local paper in Rockland and Westchester, N.Y., Madie Micpon was class president in high school, co-president of its National Honor Society, a Rockland Scholar-Athlete, and a star student with a grade-point average over 4.0.
She was a “sweetheart” and “just a really special kid,” according to Suffern girls lacrosse coach John Callanan.
“Extensive life-saving procedures” were implemented at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, before reportedly being transferred to Massachusetts General in Boston. She died Sunday afternoon at Massachusetts General, with the fundraiser looking into what happened to let one of their competitors be hospitalized.
“Every food poses a choking risk… but the hot dog has just the right size and consistency to perfectly block the airway,” said Johns Hopkins doctor Nisha Kapadia. “It’s the perfect plug that doesn’t allow any air to get through.”
Services are expected to be held in Upper Saddle River, N.J. this Friday and Saturday. According to The Journal News, a wake will be held from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday at the Church of the Presentation in Upper Saddle River, N.J. The funeral mass will be held the next day on Saturday at 10 a.m.
“We are never prepared for the loss of someone in our community,” Tufts University wrote in their official statement. “It can be especially hard to accept the loss of someone so young. In times like these, it is more important than ever to rely on each other and draw strength from our community.”
Tufts University said that they would be working to help support the Nicpon family and offering services to any students greatly affected by Madie Nicpon’s passing.