Fitzgerald ((GA)) High School DL DJ Searcy died Tuesday morning following practice at a camp in northern Florida. The 16-year-old was found unresponsive in his cabin, according to the Columbia County ((FL)) Sheriff’s Office.
Add to that Locust Grove ((GA)) High School OL Forrest Jones death Tuesday night in hospital after passing out after a voluntary workout last week. Doctors believe that Jones may have suffered from heat stroke or exhaustion, according to his family.
Here's a story that aired on WXIA-TV in Atlanta earlier Tuesday before Jones passed where 11Alive talked to the family...
Until Tuesday, there had not been a heat-related death for a high school football player in Georgia in five years, according to the Georgia High School Association.
The GHSA is the state’s governing body for high school athletics. It mandated that all member schools develop their own heat policy after the death of Rockdale County football player Tyler L. Davis after a voluntary workout Aug. 1, 2006.
Here's a copy of the statement released by the Ben Hill ((GA)) County Superintendent on Searcy's passing...
Ben Hill County Schools and the Fitzgerald Hurricanes suffered the most devastating loss of the year today. The season has not begun but the team, coaches, and staff are reeling from the passing of D. J. Searcy, an 11th grade student at Fitzgerald High School. D. J., a defensive lineman with the Hurricanes, was attending football camp near Lake City, Florida this week.
After an unnamed player advised one of the coaches that there was a problem with D.J. who was located in his room in the assigned cabin, D.J. was transported to the hospital where he later passed away at 12:43 P.M. today, August 8, 2011.
The cause of death is unknown at this time, but the body will be transported to the Medical Examiner's Office in Jacksonville, Florida.
Numerous administrators, teachers and coaches describe D.J. as a "great kid". He was a good student with a positive attitude who was always smiling. He was an outstanding athlete, a favorite of students and staff. The school, friends, and family will miss the smiling face of this beloved young man.
Deepest sympathy is extended to the family, friends, and staff who were impacted by his young life. The team will be returning later this afternoon. Counselors from all Ben Hill County Schools will be available to students. Appreciation is extended to all the surrounding school districts who have offered their counseling services and condolences through calls and emails.
As Bobby Connor, Superintendent of rival Irwin County expressed, "We might be rivals across the field in competition, but in situations like this we are pulling together with support for your community."
God bless the family of D. J. Searcy during their time of loss. Our prayers are with you all.
Nancy P. Whidden
Superintendent of Schools