Amherst grieving loss of teen who collapsed, died after cross-country meet

The high schooler’s heart stopped beating, and they never regained consciousness.
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 4:21 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2022 at 6:52 PM EDT
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AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A community is grieving after a high school junior collapsed and died after a cross-country meet in Ludlow last week.

The high schooler’s heart stopped beating, and they never regained consciousness.

“Our community is grieving,” said Amherst-Pelham Regional School Superintendent Dr. Michael Morris.

Anna Burns was a junior at Amherst-Pelham Regional High School and an avid athlete, a well-known individual in the community. Burns identified as nonbinary and used they/them pronouns.

On Tuesday last week, Anna collapsed during the end of their cross-country meet in Ludlow. Their heart stopped beating, and although EMTs were able to revive the heart, Anna never regained consciousness.

A few days later, Anna’s parents notified the school system that they had passed.

“Anna touched the lives of many, many individuals here, and so, it’s a community that’s in pain right now,” Dr. Morris told us.

He knew Anna well, as he was the principal at Crocker Farm School, when Anna was a student. He told us that Anna was an avid athlete and well-known in the community.

“Youth soccer, running at the high school, but also cross-country skiing, which is a major sport at our high school,” Dr. Morris said.

Western Mass News reached out to Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center where Anna was a camper, and then a counselor in training. They released a statement to us that read in part:

“These past three summers, they were an incredible counselor in training and junior counselor who brought infinite joy and kindness to campers and fellow staff. Multiple summer’s worth of young campers benefited greatly from Anna’s guidance and presence. Their advocacy and deep beliefs about a better way to be in this world were invaluable to our camp community, and they will be deeply, terribly missed.”

Anna’s family said that their organs were donated to transplant recipients, just one last gift from them to the community.