13-year-old dies after practice
Teen experiences symptoms of heart attack minutes after football camp

SNELLVILLE - A 13-year-old Gwinnett Football League player died Monday evening following a practice at Shiloh High School, an official said.

Ted Bailey, chief forensic investigator with the Medical Examiner's Office, said in a written statement that Jahceem Xavier experienced symptoms consistent with having a heart attack.

An autopsy revealed that Xavier - listed at 6 feet, 1 inch and approximately 230 pounds - suffered from an enlarged heart.

"Further tests are being performed; however, the results of the tests could take up to 12 weeks," Bailey said.

Jorge Quintana, spokesman for Gwinnett County Public Schools, said the school district's records show Xavier was enrolled as a seventh-grader at Shiloh Middle during the 2007-08 year.

According to Erik Richards, the league's director, Xavier began vomiting at 9:08 p.m., five minutes after practice concluded. Shortly after a call to 911 was placed, Xavier stopped breathing and lost consciousness. Between 9:25 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., a trainer performed CPR and the player regained consciousness, vomited and then lost consciousness again. At 9:30 p.m., emergency medical personnel arrived and transported Xavier to Emory Eastside.

It is unknown if Xavier died on the scene or at the hospital.

"We're deeply saddened and our thoughts and prayers are with the family, first and foremost," Richards said. "We don't want the family to feel like they're on an island. We've got 16 associations waiting for their call for anything they need."

Richards said Xavier had a physical July 9, saying that no child is allowed to participate in practice or conditioning without a proper physical.

Shiloh's youth league football teams are pulling the jersey number of Xavier for all of their teams in all age groups this season, Richards said. He said he expects the league to honor Xavier's memory at some point.

"You never want it to be one of yours. I know that sounds selfish," Richards said. "When I sit down at night and say prayers for my family, the second thing I pray for is I hope no one has a death or a serious injury on my watch. It's struck us hard. We're a 6,000-participant football league, but we've never had a death on the field (in his 19 years with the GFL)."

- Sports editor Will Hammock and Staff Writer Heather Darenberg contributed to this report