Local News

Chapel Hill schools investigating football player's death

Posted August 15, 2008

— Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools is investigating the Tuesday death of a high school football player several hours after a scrimmage.

Atlas Fraley's parents found the 17-year-old unresponsive in their 202 Fan Branch Lane home Tuesday evening, and they were unable to revive him.

The state medical examiner's office has not issued a cause of death. Police said that there were no signs of foul play and that the death didn't appear to be suspicious.

Fraley was a senior offensive guard and defensive tackle on the Chapel Hill High School football team, which participated in a Tuesday morning scrimmage at Middle Creek High School in Apex.

He called 911 from his house shortly before 2 p.m., complaining of body aches and dehydration and asking for paramedics to provide him with intravenous fluids.

School Superintendent Neil Pedersen requested the district investigation of Fraley's death.

Orange County Emergency Management Services officials also are investigating the case, but they have declined to discuss it.

"A full review of the facts is in progress," EMS Capt. Dinah Jefferies said.

EMS officials said Friday that a paramedic response vehicle was dispatched to Fraley's home in response to his 911 call. The vehicle, different from the ambulances used to transport patients, is fully equipped to handle medical emergencies, officials said.

Fraley wasn't taken to a hospital. It remained unclear Friday whether he refused to be taken to one or paramedics thought he was well enough to stay at home alone.

Orange County Emergency Medical Services  protocols   don't set a minimum age for allowing patients to refuse treatment. State law also doesn't address whether minors can refuse medical treatment.

Attorneys said the situation depends on Fraley's condition when EMS arrived.

David Fraley said his son never called him or his wife Tuesday to ask for help.

"He did what any smart kid would do. He knew that EMS could get there before we could, so he called them first," he said.

David Fraley said he found the phone on the floor next to his son when he came home Tuesday. He said he will insist on a complete investigation into his son's death.

"We will get to the bottom of everything. If it takes the rest of my life to do it, we will get to the bottom of it," he said. "I'm disappointed in the system, so disappointed in the system."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Just the facts mam Aug 15, 2008

    I feel sorry for the family, but they and everyone else needs to get the facts before start pointing fingers at anyone.

  • ERRN Aug 15, 2008

    EMS cannot force medical treatment on anyone, that is conisdered assault.

  • chfdcpt Aug 15, 2008

    Xiaoding, are you familiar with medical privacy laws? If EMS releases any of that call information to the media/public, they are in violation of the federal HIPPA law. That leaves them open to federal and state charges for releasing protected information.

    Get some of your facts right before you start slinging cacaccino around at something you don't know about.

    BTW, I spent a career involved in emergency services,and ever since, we were never allowed by law to release any patient/call information.

  • fatherofa4yr Aug 15, 2008

    Why do people still insist on blaming EMS when all of the facts haven't been told. You can bet that in this case, the call is being reviewed not only by EMS, but by the MEDICAL DIRECTOR of Orange County EMS (a docotor). The EMS system has probably been told by an attorney to keep quite until all facts are gathered and the corners report is done. This does not indicate guilt by any means. With the way it has been demonstrated here, would it make sense not to comment without all the facts availble. There is so much that has not been said but most people are quickly condeming EMS without a clue as to what happened. The bad thing about EMS is that all counties operate under completly different guidelines. Each county has a different Medical Director that they operate under. They can only do what is approved by that Medical Director. Also all County Protocols have to be approved by the STATE of NC. How many of you knew that? Could the State be questioned for approving the Protocols?

  • Xiaoding Aug 15, 2008

    You keep pressing, parents! That we have heard absoloutely NOTHING, so far, from the EMS people, shows that they are covering up.

  • WilloWSnapper Aug 15, 2008

    it never says what time his parents got home, so as far as we know, they didnt get home til 6pm and if my child had called me, i wouldve been there VERY quickly

    sounds like he had some problems during practice, so sounds like the coach would be the first person id be talking too

  • elberry08 Aug 15, 2008

    This is terrible tragedy, but it's amazing to me how WRAL isn't even mentioning a very important fact in this matter.

    "Fraley had played in a scrimmage against Middle Creek High School in Apex on Tuesday morning. During the game, he complained of a headache and coaches took him out until he felt better. The headache returned, and they took him out for good."

    All high school sports have a trainer, especially football whenever they practice, scrimmage, etc. My question is how come the media and people who are blaming solely the EMT response, let the coaches, trainers, and school out of blame.

    How was he able to leave the school if he was still feeling bad? This is such a terrible tragedy because it should have been easily avoided beginning with the school's response.

  • SomeRandomGuy Aug 15, 2008

    Doesn't state law REQUIRE anyone under 18 to have parental permission fo receive medical care?? I know whenever I have had to deal with EMS and transport was refused, a form indicating that HAD to be signed.

  • PearlMonteverde Aug 15, 2008

    I feel so much heartache for the family. Everything does happen for a reason, trust in that!