CLAY, W.Va. — A tragedy mars the Friday night lights in West Virginia. Roane County High School officials confirm today a player died Friday night after collapsing on the field.
The school posted the following message to its Facebook page this morning.
“The Roane County community suffered a tragic loss last night with the passing of Alex Miller. Roane County High School will open its doors at noon today for the students to be with one another during this difficult time. Counselors, local pastors, teachers, parents and friends will be available as our community continues to grieve.”
Roane County Superintendent Dr. Richard Duncan released the following statement on Saturday.
“Roane County High School senior Alex Miller passed away late Friday night after collapsing during
a football game at Clay County High School. Miller was immediately given emergency medical attention
and transported to a local hospital, but these efforts were ultimately unsuccessful. The game was
initially suspended until Saturday evening, but as of Saturday morning the game was suspended
indefinitely pending a future decision on its resumption.
Roane County High School administration and counselors have received offers of support and assistance
from colleagues across the region, and are now focused on supporting their students, staff, and
community through this difficult time. The school will be made available for students, staff, and
community members to meet and speak with counselors and local pastors on Saturday afternoon, and
further support will be provided in the coming days and weeks.”
Roane County was playing Clay County Friday night when the incident occurred at the end of the first period.
Witnesses tell Metronews the first quarter ended and players came to their respective sidelines. As they were returning to the field to begin the second quarter, there was a frantic call for EMS from the Roane County sideline. Paramedics immediately responded and the entire team was moved to the field to allow EMS crews room to work. The rescue personnel performed CPR even as he was being transported from the field to the ambulance.
As Miller was taken to the hospital, the stadium went silent. The Public Address announcer asked for prayer. Members of both teams, coaches, cheerleaders, and referees gathered at midfield. Fans prayed silently in the stands.
The game was suspended and was tentatively set to resume at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. It’s unclear if that will be the case.
Grief counselors are on hand at the school and the doors are open today for anyone needing support.
The last time a player died during a football game in West Virginia was 2013. South Harrison High School player Dylan Jeffries died nine days after he was injured in a game against Lincoln High School.
Ritchie County player Chuck Scholfield died in 1993 several days after he suffered a head injury in a game with Wirt County. The Rebels’ stadium is now named in his honor.
An article in the Washington Post from 1981 reports a Winfield High School player collapsed and died during a preseason practice and in 1979 two players died and a third was left a quadriplegic, which precipitated a requirement by the West Virginia Department of Education to have athletic trainers in place by 1985 for all junior and senior high programs.