On Tuesday, Gurdon (Ark.) High sophomore Montel Williams died after collapsing an evening football practice. Given the heat that players had endured in Arkansas (and across the South) throughout summer football training, it was assumed that heat was, at the very least, a contributing factor in Williams' death.
It now appears that may not be the case. According to Arkansas-based KATV, a preliminary autopsy has found that Williams had a previously undiagnosed heart condition, a genetic trait that was likely the cause of his death.
According to KATV, Williams initially went down on to a single knee while running wind sprints at the end of the Tuesday evening practice, then collapsed altogether.
While it may still be some time before a final cause of death is determined, the Gurdon school community has rallied around the football program in its time of need. With the first day of school for the district scheduled for Monday, it was announced that grief counselors will be made available to any student who seeks them during the first few days after students return.
Meanwhile, Williams' coach and former teammates plan to dedicate their season in the memory of their fallen friend.
"They're all in shock, kind of like we all are." Gurdon coach John Pace told KATV. "Only time will help that."