A New Jersey town finds itself grieving the tragic loss of a talented athlete and beloved student after 17-year-old Albert Martin collapsed on the court and died during a timeout in a preseason scrimmage on Monday afternoon.
As reported by the Newark Star-Ledger, Red Bank (N.J.) Regional High senior Albert Martin, a starting forward on the school's basketball team, collapsed during his team's Monday afternoon preseason scrimmage against Point Pleasant Beach (N.J.) High. Martin had reportedly been sitting on the bench when a timeout was called and the forward was told to get ready to return to the game. He took a sip of Gatorade, his knees buckled and he collapsed to the floor.
A school trainer who was on-site rushed to Martin's side and attempted but ultimately failed to revive him. Paramedics who arrived shortly thereafter were similarly unsuccessful, and the teenager was pronounced dead at Riverview Hospital within hours of his initial collapse.
"We knew it was bad right away," Scott Martin, the Red Bank head basketball coach (who is of no relation to the deceased) told the Star-Ledger. "His eyes rolled to the back of his head, he was having some sort of seizure."
Though there has been no official announcement about Martin's cause of death, it seems highly likely to be connected to a heart arrhythmia or another heart abnormality. Martin's mother, Tracy Dixon, confirmed that her son had never received any type of heart screening.
Martin was the only senior on the Red Bank basketball team and had emerged as a major fitness success story across his four years at the New Jersey school. After entering high school at a beefy 290 pounds, the 6-foot-3 Martin had slimmed all the way down to 220 pounds entering his senior season.
Regardless of what took his life too soon, those Martin has left behind are struggling to put his loss into context. As his coach said Monday night, the senior's teammates returned to the school shortly after leaving the emergency room on Monday night, largely because they didn't know where else they could go. Though school administrators attempted to comfort the grieving teens, even they were left distraught about a student who was a major part of the Red Bank High community.
For their part, even opposing coaches were quick to praise the now departed teenager's work ethic and commitment to the game.
"He was a really hard worker and a really good kid," Point Pleasant Beach coach Nick Catania told the Daily Record. "He was a tough matchup for us, and we've seen him during some summer league games."