Mercado was hurt Monday while volunteering with a youth baseball league unaffiliated with the college, the release said.
“It is our understanding that he and others were working on a wooden dugout in a city park at 7th and Radnor Streets in Harrisburg as part of a youth baseball league, when the structure unexpectedly collapsed, causing very serious injuries to two volunteers,” said the school.
Mercado was studying entrepreneurship and small business, according to the release.
The school also published a letter sent by college president Linda Fedrizzi-Williams.
“As friends who have become family, we are mourning the heart-wrenching loss of one of our own, a promising young athlete who senselessly lost his life while helping others enjoy the sport he loved so much,” she wrote.
“No words can adequately express our anguish,” she went on.
According to the release, counselors will be on staff to support students and staff “during this time of tremendous loss and sadness affecting our community.”
Cumberland County Coroner Charley Hall told CNN Mercado died from traumatic head injuries at 11:12 p.m. Wednesday night. His manner of death was ruled accidental, according to Hall.
Robert Stern, head baseball coach at Central Penn, set up a verified GoFundMe for Mercado’s funeral and medical expenses.
In the fundraiser’s description, Stern remembered Mercado as “a fun-spirited student-athlete who loved the game of baseball.”
The funds raised will help Mercado’s family cover the costs of his funeral and his medical expenses, according to the GoFundMe page.