DeAntre Turman, a football player with Atlanta’s Creekside High School and considered a top prospect, died after he broke his neck during a tackle while in football scrimmage, it was reported.
Turman, an 11th grader who played cornerback, suffered the injury on the Banneker High School field in College Park on Friday night, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The 16-year-old suffered a broken neck and died on later that night, the Medical Examiner’s Office said. His neck vertebrae was broken “due to blunt force trauma,” it said.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the family of this student,” Fulton County school system spokeswoman Samantha Evans told the paper. “This is a truly horrific way to begin a school year.”
Witnesses told USA Today that Turman was attempting to tackle a wide receiver from Banneker High School. But a coach, Glenn Ford, said that he “just immediately went limp.”
“It was a fundamental tackle,” Ford told the paper. “(Turman’s) head was up. It was a clean tackle. It was a clean tackle. He went down. Only God knows. You know, only God knows what happened.”
“He was an outstanding kid, you know, through adversity, through all the adversity that he’d been going through, losing his mom, you know, he was just a good kid,” Ford continued
Kenneth Turman, his uncle, said that “it was just a hard hit — a regular hit that he’s made 1,000 times,” reported CBS Atlanta.
Ford told WSB-TV that he and others were “calling out his name, just trying to get him to come back to open his eyes up to move until the ambulance got there.”
Turman was considered one of the state’s top prospects for the 2015 class.
“He’s one of the best kids I’ve ever dealt with in my 18 years of coaching, period, hands down,” former head coach Johnny T. White told the Constitution. “He was quiet, but always smiling. He had a real good spirit. It was always yes sir, no sir. He enjoyed his team, and he loved his teammates. Just a great kid.”