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Gaston student dies playing basketball

Posted March 8, 2011

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— A 16-year-old student at a KIPP school in Gaston died suddenly after playing basketball at a local church Monday, a school official said Tuesday.

Javaris Brinkley, of 139 Summerview Lane in Henrico, died at Halifax Regional Medical Center in Roanoke Rapids, according to the website for Robinson Funeral Home in Littleton, where funeral services were being arranged Tuesday evening.

He was taken to Halifax Regional Monday night after suffering a "medical emergency" on the basketball court, a school official said. 

David Kizziah, senior pastor at Lake Gaston Baptist Church in Littleton, confirmed that the emergency happened on church grounds.

"We at Lake Gaston Baptist Church would like to express our deepest sorrow over the tragic and, from our human perspective, untimely death of Javaris Brinkley," Kizziah said in a news release. "The fact that the tragedy occurred on our campus makes us feel it even more acutely."

Brinkley was a student at KIPP Gaston College Preparatory. School officials said grief counselors were at the school Tuesday.

No other information was released.


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  • rashea2013 Mar 9, 2011

    I miss your hugs your smile and your wonderful laugh so much. You will forever live on in my memory as long as I live and I promise to never quit on anything just like you taught me. We love you JB! Kipp will never be the same.

  • ncsuecu Mar 9, 2011

    This is a true tragedy.

  • tugwellj Mar 9, 2011

    Very sad for the family, friends, and teachers of this young man.

  • lwt Mar 9, 2011

    While playing college athletics I started having “black outs”, extreme dizziness, fatigue and pain in my neck and chest. I saw 8 different doctors in my first semester. They all came up with different a diagnosis for me. I passed two stress tests with flying colors. It was not until my mother pushed more and took me to a different cardiologist back home that I was finally diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse and cardiomegaly. I still play sports and run as an adult, I just pay much more attention to what my body is telling me.

    I suggest most parents have their children tested if they are athletes especially as they get into higher levels, or on more and more teams. The tests may not show anything even if there is an issue, but in most cases it will. Its worth the piece of mind.

    Thoughts with his family and friends.

  • NoObamaCare Mar 9, 2011

    One common condition with these young adults is called cardiomegaly; a condition where the heart is enlarged, and does not perform efficiently. This medical condition has been tied to many athletes, being that they are always conditioning their bodies,hearts, and lungs.

  • HowManyOunces Mar 9, 2011

    My dad had a heart attack playing basketball in HS. He was 18 years old. Thankfully, he did not drop dead. He had a congenital heart defect that had gone unfound. These things happen and unfortunately, unless they begin to do stress tests on all athletes, they will continue to happen.

  • common_sense_plz Mar 9, 2011

    With all the recent deaths of so many teens playing sports, I think it would serve our children best if we as parents make certain that they and thier hearts are healthy. yes it will be costly but it sure beats having to bury your child. My prayers go out to this family, church and school.

  • sammyg Mar 9, 2011

    Yes, there is some type of underlying condition that causes this. I saw a story last year that Texas is starting to test their students for it as a prevention. Can't remember the name of the disease tho...

  • NoObamaCare Mar 9, 2011

    Schools need to start demanding more intense physicals prior to allowing these children to play sports. I know a lot of these coaches really push their athletes, and if you have any underlying medical condition, it just provokes things. Condolences to the family and friends of this young man.

  • hollylama Mar 9, 2011

    Cause its basketball season. During football season there were a number of student deaths. Perhaps kids are being pushed too hard. growing up I played several sports but it wasn't about winning championships and making it to the next level...it was about having fun. With that said, a number of the athletes that have passed had undetected heart conditions.