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Juan Diego student-athlete Adam Colosimo dies after accident

Published July 16, 2012 3:41 pm

Tragedy • Athlete dies 10 days after being shocked, but police can't find electrical source.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Draper • After each game, Adam Colosimo joined his Juan Diego football teammates as they gathered around a skinny gray statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the school's grotto and prayed the rosary.

On Tuesday, a group of hundreds, who during the four hours since Adam had died were reached by text messages, blog posts and phone calls, gathered around the statue.

"I believe in God," the group began the traditional Catholic prayers in unison.

The group made its way through the "Our Fathers," and the "Hail Marys."

Football players fell to the ground and cried.

"It was safe," school spokeswoman Molly Dumas said. "It was a safe place to be. It was a spiritual place to be."

On June 30, Adam, 16 and a junior at Juan Diego, left friends at a Mexican restaurant to go on a walk with two cousins. They found a ladder on the side of a church and climbed it. Adam caught his foot on something electrical and was shocked.

His cousins performed CPR before the police arrived and took over.

By the time Mason Krueger, one of the friends at the restaurant, arrived at the church, Adam, who rarely did anything rash or irresponsible, was being carried off the roof on a stretcher.

"That's when I realized something seriously bad happened," Krueger said.

Mason and Adam had been friends since the fifth grade and grew up playing basketball, baseball and football. Adam's family had taken Mason to Disneyland. They had plans for a sleep-over that night.

"That next day," Mason said, "we were supposed to wake up and go boating and go to the zoo and stuff."

Members of the Colosimo family, who had in earlier generations started Colosimo's sausage company, helped found Juan Diego Catholic High School in 1999, when there was a push for a Catholic school on the south end of the Salt Lake Valley. About 800 students attend the school. Two of Adam's uncles, Galey and John Colosimo, are top school administrators. John Colosimo is the Soaring Eagle's football coach.

"They're so deeply knit into the school," former Juan Diego basketball player Morgan Hesleph said. "It's a part of them, definitely. Losing Adam Colosimo is like losing a big piece of a puzzle."

Hesleph now plays at Salt Lake Community College and played with Adam about a month ago, he said. He remembered his former teammate — Adam was a freshman when Hesleph was a senior — as "almost like the perfect kid."

"Good grades, athletic, well-rounded in church," Hesleph said. "He was a great guy."

Adam was transported to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray and lived through 10 days of what was characterized on a family blog as a "roller coaster to recovery."

In recent days, his condition worsened as his lungs failed. He was unable to breathe on his own and was in a medically induced coma. Tuesday at 3:30 p.m., Dumas said, Adam suffered an embolism and died.

The facts of the accident remain a mystery even to Draper police, who don't dispute Adam was shocked, but were unable to find an electrical current on the roof, Sgt. Chad Carpenter said.

"We've gone out to the site the exact same time that all this occurred and done testing and we're still investigating that." Carpenter said.

While Adam's condition was always severe, including catching pneumonia July 5, Mason said Adam seemed to be getting better.

"I think that's why it's so hard right now," he said, "because everyone thought he was going to make it."

Adam was the first Juan Diego student to die since the school opened 13 years ago.

"We've had to bury alumni, we've had to bury staff people, parents who have died of cancer," Dumas said. "This is the first time we've had to bury a student."

Carpenter said the officers who responded June 30 were devastated by news of Adam's death. They also believed his condition was improving.

"We received an email from one of Adam's cousins saying, 'You guys saved his life,'" Carpenter said. "They wanted to hold an assembly at the school to present an award to the officers."

On Wednesday, Judge Memorial Catholic High School in Salt Lake City flew its flag at half-staff in honor of Adam.

At Juan Diego, the halls were nearly empty, but for a table covered in teal and royal blue cloth, the school's colors. On the table, there were two photos of Adam matted in gray. In one, he wore a shirt and tie and smiled big. In the other, he wore a football jersey, No. 2, and a tough grin.

A basket already overflowed with cards. An easel was a pin board for photos and notes.

More pictures: Adam Colosimo with a basketball, with a date, with a smile.

A yearbook was turned to the class of 2014, the page marked by a Juan Diego sticky note, and Adam smiled from there, too: six rows down, three faces in, the first of three Colosimos in the class.

boram@sltrib.com Twitter: @oramb —

Mass for Adam Colosimo

• A viewing for Adam Colosimo is Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the St. John the Baptist Catholic Church on the Juan Diego campus, 300 East and 11800 South in Draper.

• A funeral Mass is Saturday at 11 a.m. at the St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.

• Visit the Colosimo family blog at adamcolosimo.squarespace.com.