He looked pale, and a football coach pulled Kamari McGowan off the field during conditioning exercises. He was taken to the hospital, where the 15-year-old died, the Fulton County school system said Tuesday.
For Creekside High School in Fairburn, it was all too familiar. Kamari was the second player in less than four years to die, though it wasn’t known Tuesday whether his death late Monday was related to football, the heat or a medical condition.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the McGowan family,” the school system said in an emailed statement.
Just days away from finishing his freshman year, Kamari was participating in exercises late Monday afternoon. Paramedics were called after a coach noticed the teen was pale, and Kamari was taken to the hospital, where he died. His sudden death shocked classmates and teachers.
“Creekside High had counselors at school on Tuesday and as long as necessary to assist students and teachers who are experiencing grief,” a school system spokesman said.
Kamari’s death was a second tragedy in recent years for the Creekside football community.
In August 2013, De’Antre Turman, an 11th grader and cornerback for the Seminoles, died after being hurt on the Banneker High School field in College Park during a scrimmage. Turman, 16, died from a broken neck due to blunt force trauma, investigators determined.
Turman was one of the state’s top prospects for the 2015 class and had caught the attention of college coaches. He got his first major-college scholarship offer from Kentucky in the weeks before his death.
The following year, a Douglas County High School football player died after collapsing following practice. Zyrees Oliver, 18, was supposed to start his senior year, but instead was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. With a 3.8 grade-point average, Zyrees hoped to play college football.
Last summer, a 12-year-old boy suffered a heat stroke and collapsed during a youth football practice, likely during a time when players should not have been on the field due to intense temperatures. The Georgia High School Association prohibits outdoor practices when temperatures are above 92 degrees.
An autopsy was conducted on Kamari, but more information will be needed to determine why he died, according to the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.