A 17-year-old athlete has died suddenly in Wyoming after suffering a “freakish medical situation,” according to reports.
Max Sorenson was a celebrated basketball player who also loved wake surfing, wakeboarding, and playing golf.
However, the hard-working young athlete died unexpectedly at his home in Gillette on December 26.
Sorenson was rushed to the Campbell County Memorial Hospital where was pronounced dead.
Campbell County Coroner Paul Wallem told the Cowboy State Daily that the teen’s sudden death would not be investigated as a suicide or homicide.
Wallem also ruled out the use of illegal drugs as the cause of death.
An autopsy of the junior high school student was conducted in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Wallem said preliminary findings show that Sorenson suddenly died from peritonitis.
According to the Mayo Clinic, peritonitis “happens when the thin layer of tissue inside the abdomen becomes inflamed.”
Peritonitis can be caused by infection by bacteria – typically when someone has liver disease or kidney disease.
Other health conditions that cause peritonitis are liver cirrhosis, appendicitis, stomach ulcers, diverticulitis (inflammation of pouches in the digestive tract), Crohn’s disease, and pancreatitis.
Peritonitis can also be caused by a “rupture, inside an organ in the abdomen.”
“We are assuming it’s (from) an injury related to a sporting event,” Wallem told the Cowboy State Daily.
However, there are no known reports that suggest Sorenson had suffered any injuries, in sports or otherwise.
The coroner said he is “focusing on the injury in the sporting event as the cause of peritonitis.”
Although Wallem added that if the determination isn’t supported by medical evidence, then “we will continue to look at other answers.”
Wallen said that additional tests by a forensic pathologist are also being conducted.
Sorenson’s obituary said the 17-year-old died due to “playing basketball,” but no other information is available.
“Max had an incredible work ethic and was very disciplined,” the obituary read.
“His focus was evidenced by his achievements at school, on the basketball court, at church, and in his social activities.
“Even more important than those successes were his welcoming smile, kind eyes, curly locks, and loving personality, which made friendship with him easy and comfortable and was felt by everyone.”
His parents said he was a “smart, hard-working student, he maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA.”
“Max loved his savior and the gospel of Jesus Christ,” his parents said.
“He attended early-morning seminary and served as the bishop’s first assistant in his Gillette ward as well as other leadership positions in the church.
“Max loved basketball and in particular he loved his teammates, coaches, and the chance to travel to various locations to play,” the obituary continues.
“He was a member of the varsity basketball team at Thunder Basin High School and looked forward to helping the Bolts to a repeat Wyoming state championship in 2023.”
Sorenson was a 6’3″ guard weighing 175 lbs. who played on the Thunder Basin High School basketball team.
The Thunder Basin boys basketball team paid tribute to the teen who tragically died.
Thunder Basin High School basketball coach Rory Williams said, “I’m not going to remember Max as the basketball player.
“I’m going to remember Max as the kindest young man I’ve ever been around.
“He was just so genuine, authentic; his personality was contagious.”
Williams said Sorenson’s sudden death was a “freakish medical situation.”
However, the coach didn’t offer any other information to support the claim that Sorenson’s death was basketball-related.
During the recent Hoop City Classic basketball tournament, the Thunder Basin High School boys’ basketball team honored Sorenson by wearing his #3 jersey.
The Harrisburg High School boys’ basketball team also paid tribute to Max by wearing Sorenson’s #3.