Cam’ron Matthews, a junior at Alto High School in Texas, died Saturday after collapsing on the sideline during a high school football game Friday night.
Matthews, 17, becomes the sixth high school football player to die since early September.
Matthews initially was reported to have suffered a seizure late in the first half. According to a witness, he told teammates that he felt dizzy. After collapsing, he was tended to on the sideline by trainers and emergency personnel. He then was airlifted to a hospital in Tyler, Texas, and was listed in critical condition early Saturday afternoon.
He was pronounced dead shortly after 6 p.m. Eastern. A cause of death has not yet been determined.
“So many people gathering here, it’s very fitting, at the football stadium, where he spent so much of his time,” Alto ISD Superintendent Kerry Birdwell told KTRE. “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. He was a great kid in the classroom, unbelievable athlete, but more importantly just a great, great kid.”
Counseling services will be available for students at school Monday.
The game against Carlisle High (Price, Texas) was postponed.
According to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research at the University of North Carolina, five high school players died last season of causes directly related to football such as head and spine injuries. Seven more high school players died from indirect causes such as heatstroke. According to the center, the average over the last 10 years is three fatalities per year directly related to high school football.
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.