As the calendar flips to August, high school football teams around the country are finally getting back into the grind of official practices. In South Carolina, those summer workouts finally began on Friday, and, tragically, the stifling heat may have already claimed a victim.
According to the Associated Press and a handful of other local media outlets, Lamar (S.C.) High freshman football player Tyquan Brantley died on Saturday evening. While the cause of the player's death has yet to officially be determined, the 101-degree heat that the team practiced in on Saturday may have played a factor.
"We are heartbroken at this terrible tragedy," Lamar school district superintendent Dr. Rainey Knight told South Carolina NBC affiliate WMBF. "Our deepest condolences and prayers go out to Tyquan's family, classmates, and coaches."
Another spokesperson for the Lamar school district told the AP that Brantley collapsed during a morning session on the team's second day of official practices. The entire football program was reportedly involved in the two-a-day workouts, which were held in helmets but without pads because of the heat involved in practicing in July and August.
While the extent of Lamar's attempts to avoid heat-related health issues remain unknown, the team was given water breaks every 20 minutes during practices on Friday and Saturday. The team will not return to practice until Monday evening, an apparent attempt to wait out the hottest period of the day.
Meanwhile, those who knew the 14-year-old Brantley have paid homage to the rising freshman. Funeral services are likely later this week. A Facebook page has been set up in his memory, and Brantley's coach offered words about his player just after he was pronounced dead on Saturday night.
"Tyquan was an excellent young man, who worked hard for the game of football," Lamar football coach J.R. Boyd told WMBF. "I was very excited about Tyquan's future as a Silver Fox. He will be missed by his family and the Silver Fox family."