Family's tribute to teenager who went into cardiac arrest while jogging


A Waconia family has paid tribute to a "beautiful, strong-willed" teenager who went into cardiac arrest while jogging this week.

Jack Pogatchnik, 18, was running around the indoor track on Tuesday at the Safari Island Community Center in Waconia, where he worked as a lifeguard, when he collapsed and has been fighting for his life ever since.

But a journal posting on a Caring Bridge page by the Pogatchnik family revealed that the Waconia High School senior has been declared brain dead, and is expected to be taken off life-support Saturday morning.

"Jack had his last neuro check-up at 4 and again there was no brain activity which means he has finished his fight," the family said. "I don't believe that he lost though, he fought like hell and showed us all what life truly means."

Since the Caring Bridge page was created it has been visited more than 41,000 times, and it is taking donations to help the family with his medical costs.

Meanwhile a Facebook page set up in his memory has also received almost 1,500 likes, with Pogatchnik's friends and relatives posting pictures and videos of him in tribute.

KSTP spoke to the student's former soccer coach, who told the station he was a "talented athlete" who quickly became a starter on the team.

Pogatchnik was transferred to Abbott Northwestern hospital after he was originally taken to Ridgeview Medical Center. He was with a friend when he went into cardiac arrest who performed CPR on him, and was placed in a medically-induced coma.

The family has thanked the community for its support, and said it will be holding a memorial service and funeral in the coming days.

"I have to believe that that crazy, stubborn, beautiful boy is in a better place where he is looking over all of us," the family said in another journal posting. "He was here for a extremely short 18 years but taught us so damn much."

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