FAIRFIELD — A Sacred Heart University student is in stable, but critical, condition after choking during a pancake-eating contest Thursday night at the college.

The 21-year-old was a participant in the contest, held at a Greek Life dinner on the college’s University Commons March 30. According to witnesses, she had eaten four or five pancakes when she began to shake uncontrollably and fell to the floor. She spit out some pieces of pancake, police said, but was choking.

While waiting for help to arrive, a nursing student began CPR after realizing the student’s pulse was diminished. Officers were unsuccessful in using the Heimlich maneuver to clear her airway and began physically removing food from her throat. The student apparently had multiple food allergies, according to the police report.

She was taken to St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport. Police said CPR was continued on the ride to the hospital.

School officials declined to comment on the student’s status but did say the SHU community had been greatly affected by the student’s medical condition.

“As is always the case, in times like these, the SHU community has come together in love and support, beginning with a prayer service at 10 this morning in the Chapel,” Deb Noack, SHU’s director of communications, said Friday, March 31. “Members of the campus ministry and counseling center staffs have been available to students throughout the day.”

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