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Thursday, Jun 21, 2018
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Child injured in tetherball accident ID'd

NEW PORT RICHEY - Authorities released the name of the 3-year-old girl involved in a playground accident at her day care center Thursday morning. Cassandra Susan Benevides of New Port Richey was found outside Footprints Preschool and Child Care unconscious with a tetherball rope tightly wrapped around her neck about 10:30 a.m. It's not clear why a ball was not attached to the rope. A teacher performed CPR on the toddler. Paramedics where able to revive her, though her body showed no movement, a report states. She was flown to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, where she was later breathing on her own and in stable condition. Her condition was unknown Friday, because her parents asked the hospital not to release that information.
Her parents couldn't be reached for comment Friday. Here's what happened, according to a Pasco County sheriff's office report: Another 3-year-old pupil told a teacher that Cassandra had a "boogie nose." A teacher who brought her a tissue found her on the ground next to the pole. The teacher picked Cassandra up, removing the rope from her neck and carrying her inside the school. She yelled for someone to call 911 and placed her on the floor, where another teacher performed CPR. Paramedics took over when they arrived. The school was open Friday. School officials have declined to comment. The school's licensing inspection in March by the Department of Children & Family Services didn't raise any flags. DCF and the sheriff's office continue to investigate.

Reporter Lisa A. Davis can be reached at (727) 815-1083.

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