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High School Football Player Dies After Collapsing on Field During Practice

A 14-year-old football player in South Carolina died Wednesday evening after collapsing on the field during practice, according to the Lexington County coroner's office.

Lewis Simpkins, a sophomore defensive tackle on River Bluff High School's football team, was pronounced dead upon arrival at the Lexington Medical Center emergency department. Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher said autopsy results were inconclusive and more tests are needed over the coming days to determine the cause of Simpkins' death, according to Lou Bezjak of The State.

Mary Beth Hill, chief communications officer of Lexington County School District One, said in a statement that two athletic trainers who were on site during practice and a coach immediately tended to Simpkins when he collapsed, attempting CPR on him and using a defibrillator, too. According to Hill, the team practiced for roughly two hours and 15 minutes beginning at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, taking mandatory water breaks every 15 to 20 minutes.

Chris Wooten, Simpkins' trainer and former coach, described him to Cynthia Roldan of The State: "From the day you meet him, you know he's special. He made the family—just a big glue stick for the whole family."

James Reynolds, the defensive coordinator at Westwood High School and a former assistant coach at River Bluff, shared a similar memory of Simpkins:

State attorney general Alan Wilson was among those who expressed their condolences on Twitter:

The school cancelled all activities Thursday in remembrance of Simpkins. The district also provided counselors and psychologists to help students and staff members cope with Simpkins' death.


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