Navy Recruit Dies After Collapsing During Fitness Test at Great Lakes

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Recruits begin the 1.5-mile run portion of their initial physical fitness assessment (PFA) at Recruit Training Command, April 10, 2018. (U.S. Navy/Susan Krawczyk)
Recruits begin the 1.5-mile run portion of their initial physical fitness assessment (PFA) at Recruit Training Command, April 10, 2018. (U.S. Navy/Susan Krawczyk)

A 20-year-old woman training to become a U.S. sailor died late last month after collapsing during a fitness test at boot camp just a week before she was set to graduate, according to Navy officials.

Seaman Recruit Kierra Evans was rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead after she collapsed following physical training Feb. 22. Evans, who was from Louisiana, was in her sixth week of basic training at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Illinois, said Lt. Joseph Pfaff, a spokesman for the command.

Navy officials had not previously disclosed Evans' death.

"The Navy and Recruit Training Command take the welfare of our sailors very seriously and are investigating the cause of this tragic loss," Pfaff said. "Our thoughts are with Seaman Recruit Evans' family and friends during this tragic time."

Evans received first aid immediately after collapsing. She was transported to Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, which is about seven miles from the base. She died several hours later.

Her family members were notified right after she was taken to the hospital, Pfaff said.

Evans collapsed after the run portion of the Navy's Physical Fitness Assessment, according to a report from the Naval Research Center. The timed run is the final portion of the three-event fitness test. Evans had already completed curl-ups and push-ups.

The Physical Fitness Assessment is a standard evaluation given to all recruits prior to graduation, Pfaff said. Most sailors also take a version of the fitness test twice each year.

"Prior to this PFA, recruits undergo weeks of rigorous physical conditioning under the instruction of their trained Recruit Division Commanders," Pfaff said.

Evans was an active member of the Navy Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps for four years before joining the Navy, according to her obituary. She was proud to ship off to boot camp, the obituary states, and was expected to graduate exactly a week after her death.

She is survived by her mother, father, stepfather, two brothers and four sisters, among other family members.

Evans' death is at least the second at Great Lakes in the last six months. In October, 24-year-old Fire Controlman Seaman Recruit Joshua Edge was found dead in his barracks, Navy Times reported.

The cause of Evans' death remains under investigation, Pfaff said.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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