The 2015 high school football season has claimed another victim, this one more than two weeks after he initially collapsed at a team practice.
As reported by the Augusta Chronicle, Burke County offensive lineman Rod Williams died on Monday evening, nearly two weeks after he initially collapsed just minutes into the team’s practice on Sep. 22. There have been no early returns on the condition that led to Williams death, with autopsy results to be released in the coming days, but there is every indication that the junior offensive lineman may have suffered from a congenital heart defect.
Williams becomes the fourth high school football player nationwide to die after a game or team practice in a four-week period. Funeral arrangements have been made for Saturday at the school’s auditorium.
“We were initially told he had some drastic sudden event with his heart,” Burke County football coach Eric Parker told the Chronicle. “We were hoping and praying he would come back; it just wasn’t meant to be.”
While it is obviously impossible for the team to completely turn the page on Williams’ passing, Parker said that it would use the loss of their teammate as motivation to drive forward in Williams’ memory. Burke County’s Quan Wilson said that the team had dedicated the remainder of its 2015 campaign to Williams, and Parker insisted that the tragic loss would his team grow as competitors and men.
“Stuff like this puts things in perspective,” Parker told the Chronicle. “We’re going to try to keep things as normal as possible. I think as time moves on, we’ll be fine. What I’m not certain about is right this moment.
“He was a great kid and a good student. He was kind of the team clown – just real popular.”