Colton Trevor Carpenter, a youngster who suffered from a congenital heart condition but loved sports, died Thursday while playing soccer in Dundalk. He was 11.
The son of Karen M. Peterson and Scott K. Carpenter, Colton was born in Baltimore and grew up in Edgemere. The boy's parents said the cause of death wasn't immediately determined. He was a fifth-grade student at Our Lady of Hope/St. Luke School in Dundalk.
Colton was born with aortic valve stenosis, a condition in which the aortic valve is partially blocked, said his parents. The condition prevented Colton from playing sports until last fall, when doctors said he could play as long as he was closely monitored, the boy's father said.
"In May, they took a stress test and said it was OK," said Mr. Carpenter. "As long as we were keeping an eye on him -- watching out for his breathing and this and that -- we were OK with it. We were happy for him."
Colton joined the 9- to 11-year-old football division of the Edgemere Falcons, a team that won the area championship game, his father said. The family tailgated at every game. Mr. Carpenter painted his face and at every touchdown, ran across the end zone, waving a Falcons flag. "I just wanted everything to be special for him," he said.
Mrs. Carpenter said, "Every game was the Super Bowl" to her son. She also said, "It was his dream to be able to play. He couldn't do the running and things at practice, but he was allowed to play in the games."
Colton loved watching St. Louis Rams games, a passion he got from his father. He even attended the team's training camp with his father and brother, and was eagerly looking forward to this year's Rams and Baltimore Ravens game. After the football season, the Falcons regrouped as the North Point Village soccer team, which Mr. Carpenter coached.
Colton was vice president of his class. His mother described him as a young boy with an "old soul." She recalled that rather than watching cartoons, he turned to military and history specials. "Every day, he taught me something about wars that I had no idea of," said Mrs. Carpenter. "He knew about every helicopter and every gun."
Even his taste in music was old. The 11-year-old was drawn to tunes from the 1960s and 1970s.
Thursday was a good day for Colton, said his mother. He woke up in good spirits. His teacher told her he was answering every question in math class, and he led the prayer at the end of the school day.
"He dismissed the class," said Mrs. Carpenter. "That was his goodbye."
On Friday night, the school convened a meeting for students and parents. The entire cafeteria was full, said Mrs. Carpenter. "I heard a thousand times how he was their brother," she said. "Everyone just thanked me for sharing him with them. I'm just thankful that we had him for 11 years. He was a gift."
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Our Lady of Hope Roman Catholic Church, 7945 N. Boundary Road.
In addition to his parents, survivors include a brother, Joshua R. Carpenter of Edgemere, and his paternal grandparents, Gloria and Charles Carpenter of Dundalk.