14-year-old North Carolina student dies following football workout

June 16, 2016 / Athletic AdministrationFootball
A 14-year-old North Carolina student died Tuesday, one day following a summer conditioning workout with the high school football program.

Karson Cross, center. | Photo from GoFundMe.com
Karson Cross, center. | Photo from GoFundMe.com

Karson Cross collapsed about 40 minutes into the workout, and coaches called 911. According to MyFox8.com, school officials could not say if Cross lost consciousness. He was set to begin his freshman year this fall at Walter Hines Page Senior High School in Greensboro.

From the article:

GCS Director of Activities, Athletics and Driver’s Education Leigh Hebbard said Wednesday, “Our thoughts are with the family. Obviously this is a devastating occurrence. And it also has an impact on other team members and students who might have known him. Grief counselors are made available for any students who might need that. And we just want to make sure the parents know we’re there to support them and help them any way we can.”

Hebbard said there’s always water available at football workouts and practices, they encourage water breaks every 20-30 minutes, and that physicals are required of all football athletes.

He did not feel Monday was overly hot. “The heat restrictions come in when the temperature and humidity get extremely high. Monday was not a day that… the temperature was somewhere 85 or 86 or 87 degrees depending on where you were in Guilford County. The relative humidity was down around 25 to 26%.”
He said those numbers are the low end of anything that would generally cause concern.

Eleven high school football players died last year in incidents related to the sport.

It’s too early to speculate cause of death, but when something like this occurs during a summer workout, the first question is related to heat and hydration. As reported, the athletic director is confident that coaches followed proper procedures with water breaks.

According to the GoFundMe page for the family, “Karson will be remembered as a bright, intelligent, respectful, and athletic young man who exuded vibrancy and passion. Karson’s parents, Kerry and Gretchen Cross, were at Karson’s side through the entire tragedy. Karson was transported to a local hospital and in the early hours of June 14th, was flown to UNC Chapel Hill for more definitive care. Hours after arrival, and despite the best efforts of some of the finest doctors and nurses, Karson passed away.”

In one day, the family has raised $18,000 of the $25,000 goal.

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