College lacrosse player dies after competing in Boston-area hot dog eating contest

BOSTON -- A student-athlete from a Boston-area college died from choking during a charity hot dog eating contest.

Madie Nicpon, a junior lacrosse player at Tufts University, began choking during a competition held at an off-campus home on Sunday, local ABC affiliate WCVB reported.

She was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where she later died.

The 20-year-old biopsychology major from Suffern, New York, was participating in the "Play for Pink" breast cancer fundraiser, an event popular with the university's student-athletes.

Approximately 3,000 people attended a candlelight vigil for Nicpon on the school's Bello Field, where the lacrosse team plays its home games, according to WCVB.

In an Instagram post, the Tufts lacrosse team described Nicpon as a friend who "valued love, loyalty, compassion and friendship."

"Madie will be remembered as a bright light, a social butterfly, an amazing teammate, a kind and generous person, a wonderful sister and daughter and a Jumbo that we can all aspire to emulate. She will be missed every day," the post read.

Nicpon's death highlights the risks of participating in amateur food eating competitions.

In April, a California teenager filed a lawsuit against Fresno's minor league baseball team over his father's 2019 death during a taco eating contest.

And last year, Sacred Heart University in Connecticut settled a lawsuit over the death of Caitlin Nelson, a 20-year-old student who choked during a pancake eating contest.

Legal experts say lawsuits like this can be difficult to win because participants in eating contests are usually aware of the risks.

"If you are willing to assume that risk, that absolves the people putting on the food-eating contests of any liability," said Tony Capozzi, a legal analyst.
Copyright © 2021 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.