Following a recent heat wave last week that contributed to at least three of five deaths throughout the South, Arkansas Activities Association Executive Director Lance Taylor warned his member schools in a public address:
"Any heat illness is preventable. Period," he said. "You're going to have to step up and be the leader of
your school and make sure your kids are safe."
And now a sixth life is gone — this one in Taylor's home state.
The Daily Siftings
reported this morning that Montel Williams, a sophomore at Gurdon (Ark.)
, died after collapsing on the football field during practice Tuesday night.
According to the Clark County Sheriff's department, a 911 call was received at 8:42 p.m., but Williams, 15, was pronounced dead at 9:59 p.m. at Baptist Medical Center-Arkadelphia, which is located 15 miles north of Gurdon.
Gurdon Superintendent Allen Blackwell told the newspaper that football coach John Pace had taken precautions to help players with the heat. Temperatures during the day had hovered around 100 degrees and at the time Williams collapsed, temperatures had dropped into the mid-80s according to weather reports.
Practice was started late (7:30 p.m.) to combat the rising temperatures.
The cause of death is unknown and an autopsy is scheduled for today.
If Williams' death is heat-related it would match the most in a single football season since 2006, according to the National Center for Catastrophic
Sports Injury at
the University of North Carolina. The first game of the season starts Thursday.
The NCCSI, which tracks sports deaths of every cause,
reports there were 30 heat-related deaths of football players from 1995
through 2009, an average of two per year.
"Montel was a great student, he was on the honor roll and an overall good representative of the community," Blackwell told The Daily Siftings. "It's a tragedy not only for the school but the community. ... Today is going to be a tough day for all the coaches, staff and the community."
It's been a very tough first two weeks of the preseason around the country.Continue reading