Initial findings from the medical examiner released Monday confirmed what the family of Twin Cities youth hockey player Patrick Schoonover learned earlier: that a heart condition caused the Eagan 14-year-old's death on the ice last week during a scrimmage in Brainerd.
Later Monday, the family posted on the Eastview Hockey Association website a detailed medical accounting from a doctor of Patrick's "cardiac abnormalities" and asserted that hockey had nothing to do with his death.
Patrick was playing with his Eastview Bantam AA team of eighth- and ninth-graders during a tournament Friday when he collapsed and died.
The Ramsey County medical examiner's office, which handles death investigations for Crow Wing County, told police that "provisional information indicates that Patrick's death was caused by a heart condition," said Brainerd Police Chief Corky McQuiston.
Final autopsy findings are still pending, the chief said, and those take "anywhere from three to four weeks or longer, depending on what type of tests need to be done."
Once the final results are in, Patrick's death will be reviewed by the county attorney's office, which is standard for any cases that prompt an autopsy, McQuiston said.
Dr. Jay Traverse, director of research at the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, issued a thorough statement that the family had posted on the hockey association website explaining that the teen was born with "several, likely related, cardiac abnormalities that affected his aortic valve and aorta."
The posting added that Patrick also "was born with a 'kink' or narrowing in the aorta."
The combination, the statement continued, "is associated with a progressive enlargement of the ascending aorta after it leaves the heart. If the aorta becomes too large (aneurysm), it can rupture, and unfortunately that is what happened to Patrick. It is almost always a fatal event. … The heart cannot function properly when its sac is full of blood."
The doctor then clearly stated that the teen's death "was not related to Patrick's hockey, even though it occurred on the ice."
Addressing whether these conditions can be headed off before it's too late, the doctor's statement said there are some symptoms that can be detected by health care providers.
Michael Schoonover, while attending his younger son's scrimmage Sunday in Apple Valley, said "we didn't know anything about" any heart trouble in Patrick's medical history. "It didn't show up in any physicals. He never complained of chest pains or anything."
The scrimmage Sunday also was a celebration of younger son Matthew's 12th birthday. A crowd of about 500 parents, children, students, players and community members sang "Happy Birthday" before the scrimmage. Then both teams observed a moment of silence to honor Patrick, an eighth-grader at Black Hawk Middle School in Eagan.
The family released memorial service information Monday night. Visitation is scheduled for 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, 12650 Johnny Cake Ridge Road, Apple Valley. Visitation Friday starts at 10 a.m. at Shepherd of the Valley, with services at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Acacia Park Cemetery, Mendota Heights.
Along with his father, Michael, and his brother, Matthew, Patrick is survived by his mother, Gayle, and sisters Abby and Anna.
"His swag was as strong as his legendary slapshot," read Patrick's obituary on the Henry W. Anderson Mortuary website. "Patrick was a star soccer goal tender and a brick wall for his first and last season at Black Hawk. He brightened locker rooms and played with unbridled passion all the while wearing his patented smile."