Buford High basketball player dies after collapsing at practice


Buford High basketball player dies after collapsing at practice

A Buford High School varsity basketball player has died after collapsing during a preseason practice session.

Adam Smith, 16, was running during a Thursday afternoon workout when he told a teacher he wasn’t feeling well.

Moments later, the junior collapsed on the floor.

“They were doing pre-season running, cardiovascular work,” Buford High principal Dr. Banks Bitterman told the AJC on Monday.

“One of my teachers who is also an assistant cross-country coach was also there, and he walked up to her and said, ‘I’m just not feeling any good,’ and he just collapsed,” Bitterman said.

The principal said that he and other school staff members performed CPR, including using an automated external defibrillator, until EMTs arrived.

“The EMT’s got there immediately, and within 10 seconds, they had him up on a gurney and we were going to the hospital,” Bitterman said.

Smith was rushed to Northside Hospital-Forsyth, where he died Sunday night.

Bitterman called Smith an “incredible young man.”

“It’s a tough situation,” Bitterman said.

“You’ve got a kid that’s so good, just a fine young man with a lot of potential,” the principal told the AJC. “He was an awesome young man.”

“His cheerful disposition and his commitment to Buford High School and the Buford community will be greatly missed,” Buford City Schools Superintendent Geye Hambey said.

Hambey called Smith a “very popular guy — a bright spot in anyone who encountered him.”

Hambey said additional counselors were on hand at the school Monday to talk with students and staff.

“It’s hit the entire school, especially since it occurred on campus and so many students and teachers actually saw it take place,” Hambey said.

Bitterman said Smith had no known pre-existing condition that might have caused him to collapse.

“His mom and dad had taken him through several tests and he was cleared. He had nothing,” Bitterman said.

“This young man was in shape,” he said. “I have no idea how to explain this one, especially to the kids, who are asking the same thing.”

Bitterman said that Smith was an organ donor, and is “going to be able to help 15 different people because of his life.”

Funeral arrangements will be announced by Hamilton Mill Memorial Chapel and Gardens.

Staff photographer John Spink contributed to this article.

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