A 15-year-old football player collapsed and died during spring conditioning drills at St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia on Saturday.
Ryan Gillyard, who was a linebacker and running back on the freshman team, was jumping rope and when he fell to the ground, his father, Jeffrey, told philly.com. The team had just completed warmups.
Medical personnel worked on him for about 25 minutes and then took him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, the family said.
Family members told philly.com that Ryan had no known health problems and they believed he died of a heart attack, although they were waiting for autopsy results.
“He was a great kid. Loved football, loved the Prep,” Jeffrey Gillyard said. “He was always into conditioning his body . . . and working hard on his grades.”
His family said Ryan wanted to play Division I football and would do additional work to keep fit, including crunches before bed and jumping rope.
“It’s just a sad day,” Prep athletic director Jim Murray said Saturday. “People are mourning the loss of a young man. They’re gathering at the school to be together.”
School officials said counselors would be available through the weekend and on Monday and encouraged students who knew Gillyard to talk to a counselor.