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The college student who died after a pancake eating competition died of asphyxia

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UPDATE April 6, 2:47 p.m. EST: 

The New York City chief medical examiner ruled that Caitlin Nelson, 20, died of asphyxia, according to the Associated Press.  The official cause of death was “asphyxia due to obstruction of airway by bolus of food.”

Nelson died at a hospital in New York on Sunday, three days after collapsing during a pancake-eating context.

ORIGINAL STORY: A Connecticut college student died last Thursday after competing in a pancake eating contest. 


Caitlin Nelson, 20, of Clark, New Jersey, was a social work major at Sacred Heart University. 


Officials with the Fairfield Police Department told People Nelson had eaten "several" pancakes and was "unresponsive" when officers arrived on the scene. Nelson had allergies but it remains unclear whether that was a contributing factor. 

“Our officers were on the scene quickly,” Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara told People. “They recognized the gravity of the situation immediately and desperately and heroically tried to clear her airway."

Lt. Robert Kalamaras told the New York Daily News that some nursing students on the scene provided immediate assistance before emergency crews arrived. 

Sacred Heart University held a service to honor Nelson's memory. 

This is the second tragic death in Nelson's family. 

Nelson's father, James Nelson, was a Port Authority officer who was killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. He was evacuating people from the 27th floor of one of the towers when it collapsed, according to CTPost.com

The college student who died after a pancake eating competition died of asphyxia

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