12-year-old collapses at football practice, dies

Updated: September 28, 2006, 8:05 AM ET
Associated Press

HOUSTON -- A 12-year-old football player collapsed and died after a light training session with his school team, a school spokesman said.

The seventh grader, who has not been publicly identified, participated in "light football practice and conditioning drills" moments before he collapsed Wednesday afternoon, said Craig Eichhorn, a spokesman for Galena Park Independent School District.

The conditioning consisted of several 100-yard sprints, he said.

Jason Ward, head coach of the North Shore Middle School team, had assembled the players for a speech about the importance of academics when the boy collapsed, Eichhorn said.

Ward and another coach performed CPR on the player while another coach called for an ambulance. The responding emergency medics tried to revive the boy with a defibrillator, Eichhorn said.

The student was taken to the East Houston Regional Medical Center, where doctors worked for several hours to revive the boy, Eichhorn said.

"At one point, they did get a slight pulse from him, but despite their best efforts, they were unable to save him," Eichhorn said.

Nursing supervisor Gary West confirmed that the student died at the hospital. He said an autopsy will likely be conducted to determine a cause of death.

Galena Park coaches are required to be certified in CPR and renew their training annually, Eichhorn said.

Eichhorn said counselors would be at the middle school Thursday to help teachers and students. The boy was remembered as a good student, athlete, role model and leader, he said.

"When a young person dies like this, it is a sad day for everyone in the district," Eichhorn said. "We have the utmost respect for this young man's family, and we will keep them in our prayers."

The seventh grader was the third football player in the Houston area to die in 10 days.

Rice University freshman defensive back Dale Lloyd, 19, died Monday after collapsing Sunday during a team practice.

Christopher Pichon II of Houston's Booker T. Washington High died Sept. 18 after a voluntary workout at the school.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press