By Armando B. Fenequito Jr. and Adam B. Morrell
Tragedy struck the ongoing Davao Regional Athletic Association (DAVRAA) meet after a 12-year-old girl athlete from Davao Oriental died on Wednesday due to severe pneumonia.
Department of Education (DepEd)11 spokesperson Jenielito Atillo confirmed the death of one Hadia P. Eronico, who plays volleyball for the Davao Oriental girls elementary team and a resident of Ilangay, Lupon, Davao Oriental. Eronico reportedly expired around 7:45 p.m. of January 30 at Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC).
Atillo bared that the attending physician found a dengue virus on Eronico in her test but it was later on ruled out and the official medical report stated the cause of death as pneumonia.
“We are basing this on the final diagnosis of the doctor that pneumonia is the one causing the death of our athlete,” said Atillo.
Delegation officials, according to Atillo, said Eronico was just staying in their sleeping quarters the whole day and did not take any food. This statement corroborated with the report of Davao City Police Office (DCPO) in its investigation on January 30. Atillo said Eronico’s coach Joezel Mae Duro, 23 – year old teacher, told her that at 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Eronico refused to eat her breakfast. Duro prodded Eronico to take even small amount of food but she reportedly had no appetite. Later, the coach noticed while the victim was coughing she spat out blood prompting her to bring her to the clinic but duty nurse Stephen Castres decided to bring her to the hospital.
Atillo said that based on the information he gathered, Eronico played during the first two days of competitions held inside the multipurpose gymnasium of the University of the Philippines Mindanao Sports Complex.
A separate interview, however, clarified that Eronico has not been feeling well since the start of competitions and did not see action.
In another interview by Edge Davao in their billeting quarter at the Imelda Elementary School on Thursday, Duro, a 23-years old teacher from Aliwagwag Elementary School, clarified that the sick athlete was sidelined since the first match as she was already showing signs of ailment. She refused to reveal the official medical result of the deceased in respect to the family.
Duro said she has noticed Eronico’s constant coughing from the day the Davao Oriental delegation arrived in Davao City last January 24.
Eronico, according to Duro, was fit to play based on the medical screening made a month prior to the competition.
Duro also claimed that Eronico was very active despite her cough, however, everyone got alarmed when blood was present on the latter’s sputum that was observed early Tuesday prompting them to bring the athlete to the hospital.
Atillo, meanwhile, said the Department of Education (DepEd) Davao Oriental Division is capable of giving assistance to the bereaved family. He said the host city as well as the DepEd Region 11 will not be accountable of the tragic incident.
Atillo said there was no information on the victim’s condition prior to the DAVRAA competitions. Athletes competing in the Deped-supervised sports conclave are required to undergo medical examination and submit a medical certificate before being allowed to compete. Edge Davao is still verifying records of Eronico submitted to Deped if she has a medical certificate.
Deped 11, said Atillo, is saddened by the incident prompting the regional office to conduct an investigation to know other information prior to Eronico’s death.
He also bared that City Health Office personnel are now intensifying its inspection in every billeting schools to remind them about the sanitation in their area.