An East Texas high school football player died Saturday night, one day after collapsing on the sideline during a game.
Cam’ron Matthews, a 16-year-old junior from Alto (Texas) High School, was pronounced dead Saturday at East Texas Medical Center in Tyler, Texas, shortly after 5 p.m. local time.
Matthews collapsed on the sideline after a kickoff just before halftime of Alto’s game against Price-Carlisle High School, the Jacksonville (Texas) Daily Progress reported. Matthews said he felt dizzy, according to a witness, before he suffered a seizure. Doctors, nurses, trainers and coaches worked to keep him breathing, the newspaper reported.
Alto is 11 miles from the nearest town. After a 20-minute wait for an ambulance, officials summoned a medical helicopter from Tyler, about 50 miles north of Alto.
No official cause of death has been reported, but Kimberly Hinson, a friend of the Matthews family, told NBC News that Matthews had an aneurysm, and the incident was not caused by football.
“God took Cam’ron when he was ready. It’s not football to blame,” said Hinson, who added that Matthews had been playing the game “ever since he was a young child.”
The game between Alto and Price-Carlisle was postponed. No decision has been announced as to when or if the game would resume at a later date.
The Alto community gathered at the high school football field on Saturday night to mourn Matthews’ loss.
“When you have your own kids and you want them to emulate someone and follow in their footsteps, Cam'ron was a perfect example of that,” Alto ISD Superintendent Kerry Birdwell told TV station KTRE on Saturday. “He was a great kid in the classroom, unbelievable athlete, but more importantly just a great, great kid.”
Counselors were on hand Monday at Alto High School for grieving students.
Thus far this season, Tyrell Cameron of Franklin Parish (Winnsboro, La.); Ben Hamm from Welseyan Christian School in Bartlesville, Okla.; Evan Murray from Warren Hills (N.J.) Regional; Kenney Bui of Evergreen (Wash.); and Rod Williams from Burke County (Ga.) have all died. Williams collapsed minutes into a Sept. 22 practice and died Oct. 5 from what doctors believe was a congenital heart defect. The other deaths happened in the aftermath of on-field injuries.