Sports tragedy in Spain: National gymnast, 17, dies within 24 hours of contracting meningitis – as tributes pour in for ‘sweet’ and ‘charming’ teenager

A SPANISH gymnast has died aged just 17 within 24 hours of contracting meningitis- as tributes flood in for ‘sweet’ and ‘charming’ girl. 

The teenager, Maria Herranz Gomez, was part of the national trampolining team, which competed in Birmingham last November. 

From Cabanillas del Campo, Guadalajara, the young girl died on April 18, just 24 hours after contracting the infection. 

Flags above the Hospital Universitario de Guadalajara, where she was being treated, will fly at half mast in tribute to the gymnast. 

READ MORE: West Nile virus transmitted by mosquitos revealed to be behind string of meningitis cases in Spain’s Sevilla

Maria was an ‘exemplary’ sportswoman.
Photo: Club Rudicamp Trampolin/Facebook

After reporting her death, the Ayuntamiento de Cabanillas del Campo declared two days of mourning. 

Maria was a student at the Escuela de Arte ‘Elena de la Cruz’ and was part of the local trampolining team, Ruditramp. 

Last November, she represented Spain in the Trampoline Gymnastics World Championships in Birmingham. 

According to the Ayuntamiento: “Maria’s family has always been from Cabanillas. She was a charming, sweet, kind girl and loved by all, she was an exemplary sportswoman.”  

READ MORE: Fears of meningitis being spread by mosquitos in Spain’s Andalucia as 16 people hospitalised and five in intensive care

They expressed their ‘profound grief and pain for the tragedy and we send our condolences to all family members and friends of Maria.’

Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. 

Although it can affect anyone, it is most common in babies, children, teens and young adults. 

Meningitis is most commonly caused by bacteria or virus spread through coughing, sneezing and kissing.

Those who carry meningitis do not normally get sick but simply spread the illness.

If not treated quickly, it can be ‘very serious’ according to the NHS. 

It can cause life-threatening sepsis and result in permanent brain and nerve damage. 

Symptoms include a high temperature, being sick, headaches, rashes, seizures, photosensitivity, stiff neck and drowsiness. 

If you suspect you or someone else has meningitis, you must call emergency services.

According to NHS advice: “Trust your instincts and do not wait for all the symptoms to appear or until a rash develops. Someone with meningitis or sepsis can get a lot worse very quickly.”

READ MORE: ‘Fit and healthy’ British man, 23, dies from meningitis after ‘dream holiday’ to Spain’s Costa Blanca before saving three people’s lives as an organ donor

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