Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Tennessee High School Football Player Dies After Practice Hit
A 15-year-old Tennessee high school football player who lost consciousness after sustaining a hit in practice died en route to the hospital Tuesday. Dana Payne, a 143-pound, 5-11 sophomore wide receiver and defensive back at Millington High School, is at least the third prep player to die this season — before most teams have even played their first game. |
Investigators told WREG.com in Memphis that it was just a matter of minutes between the time Payne was hit and the time he was pronounced dead. At 5:11 p.m., he complained of chest pains, and at 5:13 he was unresponsive and taken to the hospital. Upon arrival at 5:48, he had passed away. An autopsy is expected to be performed.
"I heard the lick, but I didn't see it," Frank Sharp, a family friend who often attended practices, told The Commercial Appeal of Memphis. "He got up but then he stopped breathing. They did CPR there on the field and they got him back ... but they lost him about two minutes before they got to the hospital."
Reaction to Payne's death has been swift and troubling. A meeting of the unified Shelby County School Board ended abruptly Tuesday night when members heard the news, and the paper reported that no fewer than eight Millington students were taken to area hospitals Wednesday morning. Brent Perkins, spokesman for the Shelby County Fire Department, said those treated appeared to be dealing with "an emotional reaction" to Payne's death. "It's rough up there," added Millington Mayor Linda Carter, referring to the scene at the school. "The kids are emotional. ... The football team is having a real hard time, as well as the coaches."
At least three other high school football players have died so far during this young season, although one death has been deemed unrelated to the sport.
On Aug. 8, Daniel Lule, 17, collapsed and died following the first practice of the season for Hall High School in Spring Valley, Ill. An autopsy revealed an enlarged heart — something that is not necessarily found during routine physicals. Officials say heat was not a factor in Lule's death, as temperatures were in the low 80s the day Lule died.
Nicholas Dellaventura, a 15-year-old lineman for St. Joseph by the Sea High School on Staten Island, N.Y., collapsed during a 90-minute evening conditioning practice in high temperatures on July 23. He later died at an area hospital. CBS New York reported that the practice did not include equipment or physical contact, and autopsy results have proved inconclusive.
Jason Holland, a sophomore football player at Ola High School in McDonough, Ga., died Friday after a brief hospitalization. Results of that autopsy also were inconclusive, but school district spokesman J.D. Hardin told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Holland's death was unrelated to football. "Whatever led to his hospitalization did not occur at school, during football practice or immediately thereafter," he said.