Chong Boon Sec student, 16, dies after 2.4km run

Benjamin Sim Wen Ming, a Secondary 4 student at Chong Boon Secondary School, had no pre-existing medical conditions and was a volleyball player on the school team for four years.
Benjamin Sim Wen Ming, a Secondary 4 student at Chong Boon Secondary School, had no pre-existing medical conditions and was a volleyball player on the school team for four years.PHOTO: BENJAMIN SIM WEN MING/ FACEBOOK

A 16-year-old student died yesterday morning after a 2.4km run in his school.

Benjamin Sim Wen Ming, a Secondary 4 student at Chong Boon Secondary School in Ang Mo Kio, had just completed the run during his physical education lesson when he collapsed, his father, Pastor Davy Sim, 55, told The Straits Times.

A police spokesman said he was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11.44am.

Said Mr Sim of his second child: "We are still in a state of shock, but we have accepted it. We will leave it to the school to investigate what happened. I believe that they had done their best."

He added that Benjamin had no history of any medical conditions.

Benjamin had been a volleyball player on the school team for four years. The Straits Times understands that he had keeled over and hit his head on the ground near the school foyer after completing the run around the school.

The school staff member who reported the incident to the Singapore Civil Defence Force was already administering emergency resuscitation when the SCDF arrived at the scene.

"Benjamin was a friendly and hard-working student," said a Sec 4 student at the school who declined to be named.

He said it was common for students to do the 2.4km run about once a week during physical education lessons, and that the school had cancelled some PE classes in the morning after the incident.

Chong Boon Secondary principal Yeo Kuerk Heng said the school was "deeply saddened" by Benjamin's death.

"Benjamin was well regarded and popular among his peers, and was especially known for his cheerful and friendly disposition," he said.

School leaders, staff and counsellors are providing emotional support and assistance to Benjamin's family, affected students and staff.

Mr Yeo said the school is unable to comment further as the case is under police investigation.

The SCDF was alerted to the incident at 8.15am yesterday. It said it sent an ambulance and a fire bike to the scene. Police are investigating the unnatural death.

Incidents like this have happened before.

In February, a 15-year-old boy with a heart condition, Bryan Chee, died after collapsing during a 2.4km run in Loyang Secondary School.

In 2007, national triathlete Thaddeus Cheong, 17, collapsed after finishing third in a SEA Games selection trial. He died of heart failure.

Doctors have said that people can collapse and sometimes die during vigorous exercise for various reasons. These may include pre-existing underlying abnormalities in the heart, but can also be because of non-heart-related issues such as heatstroke.

Benjamin's wake and funeral will be held at Mr Sim's church, the Singapore Bible Baptist Church in Pasir Panjang Road, today and tomorrow. He will be cremated on Friday at Mandai Crematorium.

• Additional reporting by Clement Yong and Shayna Toh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 02, 2017, with the headline 'Chong Boon Sec student, 16, dies after 2.4km run'. Print Edition | Subscribe