A Shadow Creek (Texas) High School football player died early Saturday morning after the team’s game against St. Mary’s Hall in San Antonio.
Chase Lightfoot, a junior defensive tackle for the school in Pearland, collapsed during the second half of the game.
“He came off the field and fell to the ground,” his friend and teammate Damien Jackson told ABC13.
“I actually slapped Chase’s hand and said, ‘You good?’ And he said, ‘ Yeah, I’m fine,'” quarterback Zion Buckley-Sneed told KPRC2. “I turned back to go get some water. I turned back to slap other players’ hands, and all you heard was a fall.”
According to Daniel Combs of Alvin Independent School District, Lightfoot suffered “health-related complications” during the game.
After being tended to by athletic trainers and doctors, Lightfoot was taken to a San Antonio hospital, where he died at 2:30 a.m. Saturday. The cause of death is still unknown.
Lightfoot’s teammates and friends held a vigil Saturday in his memory, with Lightfoot’s jersey number, No. 65, on display.
According to the annual report from the National Center for Catastrophic Injury Research at the University of North Carolina, there were seven high school/middle school player deaths from indirect causes during football-related activities or physical exertion in 2015 and 21 in the last three years.
The Lightfoot family released the following statement over the weekend:
“Our family would like to express our sincere appreciation for all the acts of love and kindness shown during this most difficult time.
Chase was a very special young man. He was a loving and thoughtful person that never met a stranger. He was a friend to everyone that he met, young and old.
Chase loved being around his friends and family. He loved working in his church, whether it was singing in the choir, ushering, being a junior deacon or working with the kids in children’s church. Most of all Chase loved football and being a Shadow Creek Shark.
The family would like to thank the Alvin ISD administration, Shadow Creek High School leadership, teachers and students for all of their support. A special thank you to the coaches, teammates, and assistant superintendents for never leaving Chase’s side in his final moments.
Thank you to the Pearland, Manvel, and Alvin community for your outpouring of love and support.
Gerald & Voronica Lightfoot and Family”