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Mr. Ford said that is healthy. He said children will remember their friends as they go about doing normal kid things.

Chris Wolcott, the sports academy’s operations manager, said the best part of having the kids at the center is that the tragedy is pushed aside, at least for a little while.

“A couple times someone would drop a weight (in the facility’s health center) and you would hear a bang and there would be a kid who would freeze for a second,” he said. “But that would last a split second. Most of the time, everyone just had a great time.”

• Associated Press writer John Christoffersen in New Haven, Conn., contributed to this article.