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Buford rallies behind athlete who fell ill during practice

Adam Blake Smith

Adam Blake Smith

BUFORD -- The family and friends of Adam Blake Smith are praying and staying positive.

It's all they can do, as the Buford City Schools junior remains in intensive care after falling ill Thursday during a pre-season basketball exercise.

"It's been tough on our kids," said Principal Banks Bitterman. "This has been a blow to the community. Adam is a special young man, and he's definitely one of the biggest student leaders here."

Bitterman said the varsity basketball athlete "was running during pre-season cardio work, when he walked up and told one of the teachers there, 'I'm not feeling good.' That's when he went down on his knee and went out, immediately."

Bitterman said nobody was sure what happened exactly, but "the teacher went into action. She started working, sending kids to go get help from others around the school, who called 911. Once 911 was called, they immediately arrived and immediately took him to the hospital."

Smith remains in stable condition in the intensive care unit at Northside Hospital --Forsyth. It's unclear whether he had a pre-existing medical condition.

Buford City Schools Athletic Director Dexter Wood said the entire community is pulling for the young man.

"He's a great student athlete, and we're going to have a moment of silence before (Friday's) football game," Wood said. "This is the kind of thing that affects the whole community."

That community support seemed infectious online Friday, as the hashtag #prayforadam appeared thousands of times on Twitter, with the young man's friends sharing photos and videos. Some users on the social network encouraged others to pray.

"If everyone could please stop what they're doing and bow your head and say a prayer for@adamblake10 it could be life changing," wrote one Twitter user.

Others used the microblogging website to post updates of Smith's condition.

"you can't say God doesn't exist when things like this happen. so glad Adam is stable!" wrote another user.

It was no surprise to Wood that students were online gathering support for the young man.

"When it hits one of our own here in Buford, that's what we do," Wood said. "We rally."