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Boy dies after collapsing in Delano gym class

DELANO, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - A Delano family is in mourning after their 13-year-old son died after collapsing in gym class at Cecil Avenue Middle School.

"Knowing that I don't have him anymore breaks my heart," said Jose Beltran Garcia, the father of the student. "I have so many good memories of my son."

Jose Manuel Beltran, an eighth-grade student, was participating in a gym class Monday morning. Delano Union School District officials say the boy suddenly collapsed.

"We do know that the student went down, and ultimately CPR was given immediately by staff, and the school nurse immediately responded as well," said DUSD Superintendent Anthony Monreal.

The superintendent said 911 was called and paramedics arrived and transported the student to Delano Regional Medical Center. Beltran was pronounced dead at around 11 a.m. that day.

An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of death and may reveal if the boy died of sudden cardiac arrest.

Monreal said the school did not have a defibrillator on campus. A new law that recently went into effect encourages, but does not mandate, that schools have the life-saving devices on hand.

Several students in Kern County schools have suffered sudden cardiac arrest while on campus.

It's not known what kind of activity was being done when Beltran collapsed or if the student was being exerted beyond his limit.

"Some of the details we're not necessarily sure exactly as to what has occurred, and there's an ongoing investigation," said Monreal.

Beltran was born in Tulare and raised in Delano, where he excelled in school since at an early age, said his parents.

The boy's mother, Livia Salas, proudly displaced numerous trophies and certificates her son had received through the years. Beltran was an honor student at the school, where he also played on the football team.

The boy had plans for his future.

"As a child, he once told me that he wanted to be a doctor, a surgeon so that he could help the poor," said the father, translated from Spanish.

But, it was family that mattered the most. Beltran, the eldest of three children would often tell his parents and siblings that he was proud of them.

His father's voice cracks when he speaks of his son: "I will always love him, and I will always have him in my heart."

Monreal encourages the community to help the family through donations.

An account has been set up for donations. It is listed under Livia Salas at Wells Fargo Bank, account No. 7565052904.

Funeral services are pending.

Police said they are investigating but added that there are no indications of criminal wrongdoing.

Mental health professionals have been provided to students and staff at the school who are dealing with the loss.

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