Florida High School Football Player Dies After Collapsing During Practice

by Michael Freeman

High school football is incredibly competitive and even the practices can get pretty intense. However, intense isn’t quite the word for a situation when a Florida high school football player died after collapsing during practice.

TODAY reports the athlete attended Citrus High School in Inverness, Florida and he passed away yesterday after fainting during practice. Lauren Mason, the school’s principal, reports the football player rode to Citrus Memorial Hospital shortly afterward. Unfortunately, medical officials pronounced him dead later that day. No personal details, such as the student’s name or age are publicly known for now.

Posting about the tragedy to Facebook, Mason offered condolences and voiced sadness at the event. “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 goes on to say the school will provide crisis support through counseling and any assistance students may need. “Please be assured that we will do everything possible to provide assistance to the family and the students and staff of Citrus High School. The district’s Crisis Team will be at Citrus High School on Wednesday and throughout the rest of the week to provide counseling, assistance, and support as needed.”

Cases like this are actually exceedingly rare. In the past decade, there have been 34 deaths related to on-field action. This averages to roughly three people each season among middle and high school players.

High School Football Player Reminds Everyone What True Sportsmanship is

While high school football fields may occasionally experience tragedy, they can also illustrate the best people have to offer. For example, the sport can bring out the good in us, even if it’s just quality sportsmanship.

Mario Hoefer of Charles City, Iowa faced off against New Haven earlier this month. Midway through the game, Hoefer noticed an injured player from the other team. Wasting no time and not waiting for a trainer to come help, he stepped in. The injured player was Carter Seinlage, who experienced a sudden leg cramp and collapsed onto the field. Hoefer grabbed his leg and helped stretch it out. Someone on the sidelines captured the moment, causing it to go viral.

The GlobeGazzette quotes Hoefer saying “I knew exactly how that felt. My first reaction was, ‘Okay there’s no trainers over here yet.’ So I’m about to help stretch him out. I did that for a bit and waited for the trainers to come over.”

Hoefer remains modest about the encounter, saying “I saw the photo and I was like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s pretty cool.’ But I wasn’t expecting it to blow up the way it did.” Regardless, we could all learn from acts of kindness like that.