Normally a time of celebration, an Illinois homecoming parade turned disastrous after a student died in a freak accident. To honor him and acknowledge the tragedy, high school football teams met in mid-field as a tribute.
The New York Post reports 17-year-old Heath Toothman attended Eldorado High School before he tragically passed away. During the school’s homecoming parade, he lost his balance jumping off the senior float and hit his head. Though responders airlifted him to Evansville’s Deaconess Hospital, he was pronounced dead.
“He loved playing Fortnite, camping, fishing, and the Eldorado High School Art Club,” his obituary states. Additionally, he was “always showing his smile and fun-loving personality with his unique ability to light up a room.”
Ryan Hobbs, superintendent of Eldorado Unit District 4, wrote a letter to students, their families, and staff about the incident. “We also will be having multiple school and community events in the next few days to make sure our students who witnessed the accident and Heath’s friends have all of the support they need. If you have a student or know a student who needs help, please encourage them to call or stop by.”
One of these events includes a fundraiser for Heath’s family. 100 percent of the donations go to his family. The school also declared a tribute during their next home game, which had both teams meet midfield in Toothman’s honor. Students gathered near the band section and wore blue (Heath’s favorite color) in remembrance as well.
Further, the school designated a certain area of the school as a place to leave notes about Heath or mementos. Sometime after the game, everything there will be delivered to the Toothman family.
Florida High School Football Player Passes Away After Collapsing During Practice
Sadly, Heath Toothman’s accident wasn’t the only one this year to take a high schooler’s life. Last month, a Florida High School football player passed away after collapsing during practice.
TODAY stated the football player attended Citrus High School in Inverness, Florida. After fainting during practice on September 28, he passed away later that day. His personal details, like his name and age, weren’t made public.
Lauren Mason, the school’s principal, posted about the tragedy on Facebook and offered condolences. “Citrus Schools family and community: We are deeply saddened to share that a Citrus High School football player collapsed during practice earlier this evening. The student was rushed to Citrus Memorial Hospital where he, unfortunately, passed away. We have been in contact with the student’s family and convey our heartfelt sympathy and support as they deal with this tragic loss.”
Mason also mentioned the school will provide crisis support through things like counseling if students want it. Though technically rare occurrences, instances like this do happen. On average, three middle people among middle and high school players pass away each season. These disasters stress hydration’s importance, as well as regular checkups.