By Matthew Clayton
Elder Joshua Neal Englehart collapsed at the Missionary Training Center while playing basketball Wednesday afternoon Jan. 22 and was pronounced dead about two hours later at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.
The cause of death is still undetermined, though EMTs speculated that it was likely a heart attack or an aneurysm.
He was just three weeks from his scheduled departure date to the Kentucky Louisville Mission.
At about 4:30 p.m., Englehart, 20, was working out with his companions during gym time.
“He went up to dunk the ball and then jogged back out to the free-throw line where, after complaining of some shortness of breath, he collapsed and fell right on his chin,” said Nate Moore, BYU Emergency Medical Technician.
MTC medical doctors and nurses arrived on the scene within minutes, joining the Sports Medicine staff in administering rescue breathing while fellow missionaries gathered around them, kneeling in prayer.
MTC President Lloyd Owen immediately called the missionary”s parents to inform them of their son”s condition.
Shortly thereafter Englehart lost his pulse, and MTC physician Dr. David Brown began CPR until BYU Emergency Medical Technicians arrived.
When the EMTs entered the gymnasium they described the scene as incredibly somber.
“His heart had already stopped,” said Shane Gailushas, duty supervisor for BYU Emergency Medical Services.
Englehart was taken to UVRMC where he died at 6:13 p.m., said Michael Perdy of church public affairs.
Members of Englehart”s stake presidency and bishopric visited his family Wednesday night.
“He is a dynamite young man,” said J. Daniel Hastings, president of the Las Vegas Paradise Stake. “He had no health problems whatsoever. If you ever wanted to see a model missionary, this guy was it. We had to use a bat to beat off the girls.”
Joshua Englehart”s parents, who are not members of the church, said they had never seen him happier.
“We went to the Englehart home and the parents said, ”We want you to know that we support our son. He was right where he wanted to be,”” President Hastings said. “The father (John Englehart) then said, ”I know one thing — he”s up there right now running that Celestial Kingdom of yours.””
The Engleharts flew to Salt Lake City late Wednesday night. Several representatives of the Missionary Department received them in the airport, President Hastings said. They toured the MTC Thursday afternoon Jan. 23 and met their son”s MTC companions.
After the collapse in the gym, other elders from Englehart”s district recalled that Englehart had been to the Provo Temple earlier Wednesday and had complained of feeling lightheaded.
The last time a missionary died while at the Missionary Training Center was in the summer of 2000 when an elder from China was killed walking on the on-ramp of I-15.