A Byhalia (Miss.) High School football player who collapsed and died during a game Aug. 24 had cocaine in his system, authorities say.
A Marshall County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson told WREG that a blood sample was taken from 16-year-old Dennis Mitchell at Northwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center in Clarksdale where he died. The sample came back positive for cocaine. Authorities would not say how much of the illegal drug was found in Mitchell’s system.
Coahoma County Coroner Scotty Meredith last month said that Mitchell collapsed on the sideline after leaving the game, contrary to early media reports that he had collapsed while playing. Meredith also said coaches did not allow Mitchell to return to the game after showing symptoms.
“He’d just come off the (field) and had seizure-like activity and was pronounced dead at 8:40 p.m. after a diligent effort to save him,” Meredith said.
Meredith added that Mitchell suffered a nosebleed during practice the day before his death. Mitchell then collapsed on the sideline at Coahoma County High School.
Mitchell’s grandmother, Adeline Richard, had told The Commercial Appeal her grandson absorbed a hard hit early during the game against Coahoma County and was removed. She said Mitchell then returned to the game upon his request.
About a week after Mitchell’s death, the entire football team was drug tested with the consent of their parents as part of the investigation. Investigators said they are working to determine where the cocaine came from.
An official cause of death has not been determined.