High school sophomore in South Carolina dies after collapsing during football practice

High school sophomore in South Carolina dies after collapsing during football practice


High school sophomore in South Carolina dies after collapsing during football practice


LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. —   Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher has identified the high school football player who died after collapsing during practice Wednesday night.

Fisher says Lewis N. Simpkins, 14, was pronounced dead upon arrival at the Lexington Medical Center emergency room. An autopsy will be performed on Thursday to determine the cause of death.

Counselors and school psychologists are at the school to help with the loss and provide support to students and staff. There will be no practice Thursday; instead, there will be a private gathering so the team can share their feelings and support for each other.

Lewis Simpkins (Photo: WTLX)

Lewis Simpkins (Photo: WLTX)

The district says the team will not participate in the Sportsarama that it was scheduled to play in Friday night.

Lexington School District One officials said around 7 p.m., Simpkins, a sophomore, dropped to the ground during drills. Two athletic trainers and a coach immediately began CPR and started using a defibrillator on the boy. Paramedics then transported the student to the hospital.

About 15 to 20 players and coaches came to the emergency room in a show of support.

Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher told News19 the teen had no prior medical problems that his family was aware of.

The school district says practice began around 5 p.m. and lasted about two hours and 15 minutes. Players took water breaks every 15 to 20 minutes, the district adds, and water hoses and coolers were available at all times.

The district says trainers on site monitor athletes and make sure they take water breaks.

The Lexington County Coroner’s office continues to investigate the death.

James Reynolds, who coached at River Bluff but now is at Westwood High, said on Twitter: “It was a joy to coach Lewis. Such a bright, talented young man. We’ll all miss his smile. But I don’t believe his spirit is gone.



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.

According to the organization, indirect deaths include heat stroke, sudden cardiac arrest or by complications from a non-fatal injury such as infection.

The River Bluff community, as well as area schools and coaches, offered their condolences on Twitter:

USA TODAY High School Sports contributed to this report


More USA TODAY High School Sports