High School football player collapses, students show support.

Douglas County High students rally around ill football player

Many Douglas County High School students wore school colors and held a prayer circle Friday for a classmate and captain of the football team. But Zyrees Oliver remained hospitalized in critical condition, three days after collapsing at his home.

Zyrees has big plans for his senior year. With a 3.8 GPA, Zyrees is a leader on the field and in the classroom. He hopes to play ball in college, too.

But Zyrees didn’t make it to the first day of school Wednesday. After collapsing at home late Tuesday, Zyrees remained hospitalized Friday in critical condition, the school system said.

“He was one of the leaders on the team,” Joshua Sams, a sophomore teammate, said Thursday night. “He made sure we were doing what we were supposed to be doing and not slacking.”

Zyrees, an offensive lineman, practiced Tuesday afternoon with his team, but began experiencing cramping after practice, Karen Stroud, spokeswoman for Douglas County schools, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Zyrees later collapsed at home and was transported to the local hospital, Stroud said. According to Douglas County spokesman Wes Tallon, a 911 call was placed from the teen’s home at 12:55 a.m. Wednesday.

From the local hospital, Zyrees was transported to another hospital, but doctors have been unable to determine what caused him to collapse, Stroud said. Zyrees was supposed to start school Wednesday, but his teammates and classmates learned that afternoon why Zyrees wasn’t in class.

A native of New Jersey, Zyrees also runs track for the school, Stroud said. On Friday, classmates wore school colors to honor Zyrees and a prayer circle was held. Some students used Twitter to express well wishes for their classmate, using the hashtag #prayforzy.

While his teammates pray he recovers, coaches have told players that Zyrees would want the team to work hard in preparation for next week’s scrimmage vs. Lithia Springs and not give up, Joshua said.

“It’s a time to honor him, and let it unify our team,” Joshua said.

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