New Orleans, Louisiana 2020-09-16 22:34:00 –
Several hundred students gathered at the Denham Springs High School football stadium Wednesday evening, holding candles while offering prayers for the recovery of a classmate hospitalized after being stricken with heatstroke during football practice the day before.
The students — most from Denham Springs High and others from neighboring districts — spread out between both 20 yard lines while led in a prayer by the 11th grader’s pastor.
“He’s an awesome kid,” said the Rev. Ben Dyer of First Baptist Church in Denham Springs, describing the teen as “like a teddy bear” but also a fighter.
The team’s coach, Brett Beard, described the fast-moving events as “a freak accident” that happened quickly at the end of Tuesday’s practice.
Family friends and teammates said the teen collapsed due to heatstroke and was running a 106 degree fever.
School officials said athletics trainers immediately called 911 and began providing medical assistance for the student before emergency crews arrived and airlifted him to the hospital.
“Friends and community members are asked to keep the student and his family in their prayers at this time,” the school board wrote in a statement Wednesday.
A Denham Springs High lineman who was hospitalized at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital after collapsing at the end of Tuesday’s footba…
He was brought to the Children’s Hospital in New Orleans on Wednesday after being stabilized at a Baton Rouge hospital. Teammates and friends were unsure of his condition Wednesday night.
Beard said the family had told him that the teen showed signs of recovery.
School officials declined to name the student, citing health and student privacy laws, and The Advocate declined to name him without his parents’ consent because he’s a minor.
His teammates describe him as one of the strongest players on the team who worked hard on and off the field.
“That dude, he never gives up,” said sophomore and teammate Hayden Rushing.
Wednesday’s gathering was organized by Dad’s for Denham, a local community group and saw hundreds flock to Yellow Jacket Stadium.
Junior Nate LaRue said seeing so many people — especially from other schools — showed wider solidarity in the high school athletics community.
Teammates said the lineman was one of several high school athletes who voiced support earlier this month before lawmakers for moving forward with football and high school athletics in the fall.
The Louisiana High School Athletic Association decided to allow an eight-game regular football season starting Oct. 1 following their meeting with lawmakers.