Friends and Family Remember Madie Nicpon Who Choked to Death During a Hot Dog Eating Contest

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A 20-year-old student-athlete died after choking during a hot dog eating contest organized by an off-campus fundraiser for a breast cancer awareness charity. Madie Nicpon, a junior student at Tufts University, was rushed to the hospital, but she could not be saved from the choking hazard.

According to reports, Nicpon and other student-athletes were at the "Play for Pink" fundraiser, a private event in Somerville, Massachusetts, on October 16. During the contest, witnesses said that the 20-year-old suddenly became unconscious.

First responders were called to the scene who did life-saving procedures on the student. She was taken to Mt. Auburn Hospital and then moved to Massachusetts General, where she subsequently died.

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Who Was Madie Nicpon?

Over 3,000 members of the school community attended the memorial for Nicpon at the Bello Field, where the young student used to play with her a lacrosse team. Amid broken hearts, friends and family spoke about how much Nicpon touched their lives

Fondly called Scooter, friends said she was the type of person who "valued love, loyalty, compassion and friendship." They talked about her love for dance parties and her crazy dream of joining "Love Island U.K.," her favorite reality TV show.

Before enrolling at Tufts University, Nicpon was a student of Suffern High School in New York, and she was on both the field hockey and indoor track teams. She was also among the top 10 percent of her graduating class and had a 4.0 GPA.

The student-athlete decided to take up biopsychology in college as her preparatory course for medicine. She served as a volunteer for the Ramapo Valley Youth Corps and helped during ambulance and EMT runs.

A parent who knew Nicpon said that she was a fun and funny young girl. She also dedicated part of her time with Parkinson's patients at the Helen Hayes Hospital. Her lacrosse coach, Gaby Somma, said that Nicpon was a phenomenal person who valued her success and ensured that those around her would succeed, making her the ultimate team player.

Nicpon is survived by her parents, Kathy and Chris Nicpon, and two brothers, Mikey and Brian. The community raised over $160,000 to help Nicpon's family pay for the funeral. 

Hot Dogs as Choking Hazards

Dr. Nisha Kapadia of the Johns Hopkins Children's Hospital said that hot dogs have the right shape, size, and consistency to plug and block the airways in little kids. Thus, parents are usually told to mince or thinly slice this food to pieces before feeding.

However, Dr. Joan Salge Blake told HuffPost that anyone could choke on any food if swallowed whole or not chewed properly. The doctor agreed that hot dogs have the correct diameter to plug the windpipe. It's also easy for hot dogs to get lodged inside the throat because of their shape; thus, this food should always be chewed carefully.

Dietician Kirsten Jackson also cautioned that competitive eating is not just a choking hazard but could cause indigestion. Eating a large amount of food all at once puts too much pressure on the stomach muscles.

Related ArticleHot Dogs Are Choking Hazards for Toddlers, Experts Remind Parents

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