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Rockdale County football player dies

Special to the Post

CONYERS - Fifteen-year-old Tyler Davis died Tuesday morning after collapsing and being hospitalized following a voluntary football workout Monday at Rockdale County High School.

Rockdale County Coroner Stephen Boyle said Davis had no pre-existing medical conditions and his death was caused by the heat.

Temperatures in Rockdale County reached into the mid-90s on Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

According to officials with National Emergency Medical Service, Davis, who was a defensive tackle on the high school football team, was picked up by ambulance at the high school's locker room about 7:20 p.m. Monday and transported to Rockdale Medical Center. School sources said he may have also collapsed earlier on the field.

Davis was "unconscious and unresponsive" at the time he was transported to the hospital, according to Benny Atkins, owner and operator of National EMS.

"We treated him en route," Atkins said.

Cindy Ball, spokeswoman for Rockdale Medical Center, said Davis was admitted to the hospital about 8 p.m. and was listed in critical condition.

"He was taken to RMC and then taken to (Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at) Egleston, and he did not survive," Boyle said. "It was heat stroke, pure and simple."

The autopsy on Davis' body was conducted by a medical examiner in DeKalb County, Boyle said.

According to Rockdale County Public Schools officials, Monday night's football workout was voluntary. Mandatory preseason practices begin today at high schools across the state.

"During the voluntary practice, the students were not wearing pads or any gear," said James Ginn, Rockdale County Public Schools spokesman. "They were just running some passing drills and things of that nature."

Ginn said coaches were supervising the workout, but he could not confirm how many or the number of football players that participated in the practice.

"It's under investigation," he said.

On Tuesday morning, members of the football team were called into the high school's media center and advised about Davis. The players were consoled by school social workers. Grief counselors were on hand for football players and students. The remainder of the student body was notified via the public address system that morning that a student died, but school officials would not release Davis' name out of respect for the family.

Rockdale County High School Principal Cynthia Hudson also sent letters home with students informing parents of the incident and telling them of a memorial fund set up at the school in Davis' honor.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family," said Superintendent Samuel King. "I have been at the school all day today with my support staff. I also had the opportunity to sit with the father and offered our services and

support.

"We are conducting a review of what occurred and are doing an investigation to make sure all issues were addressed in the way they should have been. Today we wanted to make sure the family was taken care of."

Davis' funeral will be held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Carter Funeral Services in Columbus, Miss.