Alabama Naval recruit’s death drawing national attention

Mobile County
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MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – An 18-year-old Navy Recruit died while in boot camp, the girl was a Mobile native and a Baker High School graduate.

The high school is in mourning after the death of Kelsey Nobles, she graduated just last May. 

Nobles died Tuesday after collapsing after her last fitness exam at the Navy boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois. Her father tells News 5, she couldn’t be revived. Doctors say she went into cardiac arrest. 

This is the second death under similar circumstances at the Navy boot camp in Great Lakes in the past few months.

News of Nobles’ death has spread across the country. One couple in Seattle saw her story on our website and reached out to us. 

Their son, LCpl David Finlayson, a Marine, died 5 years ago after he collapsed while on a five-mile training run with his battalion. 

“They’re doing all kinds of stuff that puts a huge strain on their hearts and they have requirements for hearts, but they don’t check them, except by listening with a stethoscope, and that just isn’t enough to find the problems that might be there,” said Laurie Finlayson, the executive director of Lion Heart Heroes Foundation. 

They say took their son’s tragic passing and turned it into something positive. They began the Lion Heart Heroes Foundation, where they work to bring heart awareness to the military. They advocate for cardiac screening of military recruits, raise awareness of sudden cardiac arrest, and donate AEDs to military bases. 

Finlayson’s parents wanted to reach out, to share their sympathy for Nobles’ family. They also tell News 5 they’re working to make sure no other family has to feel their pain.

“We are working with Congressional offices to work with the military to try to change the protocols so they do EKG screening when they first enlist. And that way if a recruit has a genetic heart defect, it can be found,” said Finlayson. 

Nobles’ father tells News 5 the Navy has promised a full investigation into Kelsey’s death. 

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