Another death caused by this year’s particularly virulent flu season has been confirmed – a 10-year-old boy in Connecticut attending a hockey tournament in New York state passed away due to complications from the flu.
Nico Mallozzi of New Canaan began feeling sick last week but wanted to be with his hockey team, the RoughRiders, in Buffalo for a weekend game, USA Today reports. However, the boy started feeling more and more ill and had to be taken to the emergency room at a local Buffalo hospital.
Mallozzi was diagnosed with Influenza B, according to New Canaan Director of Health David Reed. Reed told the New Canaan News that Mallozzi’s family decided to go back home on Sunday, but only made it as far as the Catskills region before their son’s condition started declining rapidly. He was immediately taken to a hospital nearby, but died soon after admission.
School in New Canaan were closed on Monday for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, but students, parents and faculty gathered at Mallozzi’s school to provide support and receive information on the tragedy. Bryan D. Luizzi, schools superintendent, said on Tuesday that counselors at town schools “are ready to assist students…as we continue to struggle through this awful tragedy together.”
Luizzi said that all schools will also receive extra cleaning and parents are urged to keep their kids at home if they are unwell.
Mallozzi’s brother also came down with the flu. Reed said,
This has been one of the worst flu seasons and I think it will continue until March. If you’re not vaccinated, get vaccinated now.
Staff members at the SoNo Ice House, the rink where the RoughRiders practice, shared their memories of the young hockey player. SoNo managing partner Ryan Hughes said, “I knew Nico from around the rink. He was here every day, all year round. Nico always kept you on your toes. He was a great hockey player with a great spirit. Everyone knew him as a star.”
Dale Derosa, rink manager, said, “He was the heart and soul of the rink. Everyone knew him. He could have ran this place himself.”
Former NHL hockey player Martin St. Louis shared a photo of the boy on Twitter, with the post, “Life is so fragile. This great kid lost his life today. My heart aches for his parents and siblings. I can’t even imagine. RIP Nico.”
The Mallozzi family said in a statement, “There are no words to describe the loss we feel. But we are so appreciative and grateful for the outpouring of support from so many in our hockey family and local community.”