Choking in college pancake contest results in fatality

update April 10 The New York Post has an article about the funeral | Video about funeral

update April 6 A funeral mass will be held Saturday in Westfield, NJ. The official autopsy lists the cause of death as accidental asphyxia.

update April 5 InsideEdition has an interview with Fairfield Police Sgt. Mike Paris who says “Her mouth was compacted with pancakes, almost to her teeth.” (video)

The Fairfield Daily Voice reports that a college student who was hospitalizated aftter choking in a pancake eating contest at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT on Thursday passed away. The University held a vigil yesterday in her memory. update CTPost and TapInto have articles giving the name of the deceased as Caitlin Nelson from Clark, NJ. Her father, James Nelson, was a Port Authority police officer who passed away when the World Trade Center collapsed on September 11, 2001. update #2 The New York Post has an article reporting that Caitlin Nelson’s allergies were not a factor in the incident.

Comments (18)


  1. Anonymous said

    April 3, 2017 @ 12:08 pm

    Wonder what the school will do for the family

  2. ErikTheElectric said (Registered January 11, 2015)

    April 3, 2017 @ 12:24 pm

    Thoughts and prayers go out to her and her family. It’s such a shame that this transpired.

  3. anonymous said

    April 3, 2017 @ 12:29 pm

    People should not be taking part in these events without EMT present . Not being insensitive just being practical

  4. Anonymous said

    April 3, 2017 @ 2:40 pm

    NO. People should not try this at Pro levels with out Pros involve in some shape or fashion

  5. anonymous said

    April 3, 2017 @ 3:02 pm

    An extensive article is here, which includes info about the victim’s volunteer activities. There is also a gallery and video:

    SHU flew flags at half-mast yesterday.

  6. anonymous said

    April 3, 2017 @ 3:04 pm

    12:29: When the EMT’s arrived, the Heimlich Maneuver did not work. They had to use their hands to start pulling the food from her throat.

  7. anonymous said

    April 3, 2017 @ 3:07 pm

    2:40: Even Nathan Figueroa, who is a pro, said in his hot dog training video that he felt uncomfortable practicing HDB at home alone.

    And even then, EMT’s may not be able to save you. If there is no EMT on staff, by the time they arrive, it will be too late. The Heimlich Maneuver has to be done in the first few minutes.

  8. Nathan is not a pro said

    April 3, 2017 @ 3:15 pm


  9. anonymous said

    April 3, 2017 @ 3:24 pm

    She may have aspirated some of the pancake into her trachea and couldn’t cough it out. Her esophagus may have gone into a spasm also. I wonder if the paramedics and nursing student tried a tracheotomy. They’re trained on how to do a makeshift one in emergencies until a patient can be brought to a hospital.

  10. Oink Oink said (Registered February 4, 2012)

    April 3, 2017 @ 7:22 pm

    Sheesh. 🙁

  11. anonymous said

    April 4, 2017 @ 2:31 am

    304 pm you basically contradicted your’e own statement ” when the EMT arrived” If an EMT is not present and you participate in an eating contest you are basically dancing with the devil. Temporary asphyxiation if not treated within 60 seconds after choking can lead to permanent asphyxiation . She was as good as gone by the time the EMT arrived .

  12. Anonymous said

    April 4, 2017 @ 12:11 pm

    There’s a difference between a basic EMT and a paramedic. Paramedics are trained to perform tracheotomies, but basic EMTs are not. So if the Heimlich maneuver fails, and you’ve only got a basic EMT present, you’re in big trouble. But even if a paramedic is present, you’re also in big trouble if the blockage is below the point where a tracheotomy would be performed. Bottom line: there’s always risk involved.

  13. anonymous said

    April 4, 2017 @ 12:58 pm

    Duh did you google that 12:11 or is that statement based upon your experience in medical procedures? The Shea’s pay EMT upwards of $500 or more to appear at their events . Are you saying that paramedics are payed more? I can tell you this for a fact . That eating club aice never had EMT present at their events because they were too cheap to pay them but they took a huge risk and won

  14. Anonymous said

    April 4, 2017 @ 1:44 pm

    $500? You’re way off.

  15. anonymous said

    April 4, 2017 @ 3:24 pm

    are you saying less ? I know they make on average around 34 k per year in NYC which is not very much unless its a part time gig for them

  16. Anonymous said

    April 4, 2017 @ 10:20 pm

    Yes. Much less.

  17. anonymous said

    April 5, 2017 @ 12:10 pm

    Would it be too much to ask for the three top money makers of the sport Chestnut Sudo & Stonie to send their condolences to the Nelson family and maybe help to pay for funeral expenses?

  18. anonymous said

    April 5, 2017 @ 3:06 pm

    12:10 Yes it would be too much to ask, in part for the same reason MLE would never be caught doing this: negative publicity to the sport.

    Moreover, although these athletes are pros, they do not make the kind of money most true pro athletes make, like in the NFL, MLB, NBA, etc. When push comes to shove, they are just trying to eke out a survival.

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