Family Sues University After Daughter Dies During Pancake-Eating Contest


Being away at college is what most college students think is the time of their lives.  They are finally free of parental controls and rules.  However, it is also a time to learn many life skills that they will need throughout their lives and figure out who they truly are. It’s without a doubt that a person’s time in college is a pivotal time in their life.


In the four years, they will make decisions from what to eat, what club to join and most importantly (or so they think) which sorority or fraternity will they join.

The Greek clubs are known for their philanthropic events and the drive to help those in need.

One charity event took a devastating turn at a Connecticut university leaving one student dead after she choked to death.

It was March 30, 2017, Caitlin Nelson, was joining others in a charity pancake-eating contest. The event was being held for Sacred Heart University’s Greek Week,  during the pancake eating, she began to shake uncontrollably.

Fairfield Police Lt. Bob Kalamaras reported that two nursing students had tried to provide CPR before the EMT’s arrived, but their attempts failed.

The junior had been left with severe brain damage due to the lack of oxygen. Sadly Caitlin would pass away three days later. Her death was ruled as death by asphyxiation.

“The lack of oxygen for that extended period of time caused irreversible damage, making it not survivable,” Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara told PEOPLE back in April 2017.

Rosanne Nelson, Caitlyn’s mother has decided to raise awareness of the risks involved with amateur eating contests.  She has filed a lawsuit against the university.

“These contests are significantly more dangerous than people realize.”

The Nelson’s are seeking damages in excess of $15,000.

“Caitlin’s family is bringing this case to expose the dangers associated with amateur eating contests and to help prevent other families from having to endure this kind of preventable tragedy,” Katie Mesner-Hage, of the law firm Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, which represents the family, said in a statement.

“These contests are significantly more dangerous than people realize and it’s critically important for the public — especially educational institutions, to understand that certain foods are safer than others and a modicum of forethought can literally save lives.”

“There wasn’t anyone more selfless than her.”

She was majoring in social work at the Catholic University, she was vice president of  Kappa Delta sorority’s community service group. She planned Girl Scout events and was certified in youth mental health first aid. Nelson volunteered at the Resiliency Center of Newtown, a nonprofit organization, where she mentored children who were impacted by the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting.

“There wasn’t anyone more selfless than her. She always had a smile, always there for the kids no matter what you asked of her she would do it and she did it with such grace and such love,” Nelson’s close friend Stephanie Cinque told PEOPLE. “She was a beautiful human being.”

We wish the family much love and support during their time of greif.



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