Local News

N.C. high school football player dies after game

Posted September 20, 2008
Updated September 21, 2008

— A Greenville high school football player has died after collapsing during a game Friday night.

Jaquan Waller, a junior running back at J.H. Rose High School, was removed from life support at Pitt County Memorial Hospital Saturday afternoon, according to a press release from the school district.

Waller was transported there after he collapsed on the sidelines during the second quarter of a home game against Wilmington's J.T. Hoggard High School.

“Jaquan was a dedicated player that was well liked by his peers,” J.H. Rose head coach Todd Lipe said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with the Waller family during this difficult time.”

Members of the coaching staff and school counselors met with members of the team Saturday. The school will open Sunday at 1 p.m. for students to meet with counselors.

A special fund was established through the Pitt County Educational Foundation to help with funeral and burial expenses. Contributions should be made out to the Pitt County Educational Foundation and sent to 1717 W. Fifth St., Greenville, NC 27834. Please note on the check memo line “Jaquan Waller and Family.”

Waller was the third high school football player to die in North Carolina this season.

Chapel Hill High School senior offensive guard Atlas Fraley, 17, was found unresponsive at his family’s home on Aug. 12.

In Winston Salem, R.J. Reynolds High School football player Matt Gfeller, 15, died last month from a brain injury during the season-opening game.


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  • MommyGoZoom Sep 22, 2008

    "....mommygozoom, make sure you dont ever let your child get a driver's license. Accidents happen. yvonnewheeless"

    Well, duh.

    My son extremely athletic and competative son plays baseball and basketball. He could get hit in the head and killed by a wild (accidental) pitch. He could get pushed and crack his head open the bleachers, accidentally of course. But, wild pitches and hard pushes are not major components of either of those games.

    Part of my job, as a parent, is to do a REASONABLE job of protecting my child from harm. Reasonable, in our home, does not include putting him on a field with kids 2 or 3 times his size whose jobs are to knock the opponent into next week. If you feel that allowing your son to play football is in his best interest - so be it; maybe you should be a little less judgemental about those who feel differently.

  • R.O.BdaCZAR Sep 22, 2008

    I'm under the guise that this is getting reported more because of better communication tech, but not actually happening anymore than when I played the game. Thats actually why I stopped playing, because you get pushed very hard in a game you may never make a dime off of. It's a good sport that incorporates sacrifice and self-discipline, but it is so easy to push it pass the limit, because you're trained to never quit, as many other things in life, but you're not running at full speed flying into other well conditioned atheletes.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Sep 22, 2008

    Swimming does not have anything to do with football. Stay on the subject.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Sep 22, 2008

    How many on board here attend the high school football games.

  • SME2 Sep 22, 2008

    May be if the school systems did not have to spend the majority of their "sports" money on rent and insurance for swimming. Now I am not bashing swimmers per say...I just know that a large chunk of money goes towards a sport that is not that big in NC. The teams would be able to afford to buy new equipment and would not need to lean on the sports boosters as often as needed if this were not the case.

    Has Atlas Fraley's death even been linked to football at all?

  • Dr. Dataclerk Sep 22, 2008

    Another thing we need to realize here - high school football is nothing compared to professional football. I believe all high school coaches should realize this and know the difference. Many coaches like the JM head coach and helper have never played football in college but they coached. Something is wrong with this picture.

  • 4DukeTillDeath Sep 22, 2008

    Even with med insurance you are still talking about parents paying $2,000 for those tests for their children to play a high school sport. That isn't gonna happen.

    Point is it was a freak accident. They happen from time to time in high shool football and even in college and the pro's when complete physicals are mandatory. We are talking 3 out of a 100,000 + of NC youth who play high school football.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Sep 22, 2008

    I did not think I would get a good response. Funny, how all of a sudden no one has no comment. lol

  • Dr. Dataclerk Sep 22, 2008

    No, it does not. You are NOT going to get a parent to pay $10,000 to have those tests done for a game of ball.

    It is not going to happen. The rich ones will allow it, and the poor ones will still be with out it - and guess what? It will make no difference.

    Why? Medicine is not perfect.

    No disrespect, but who want to see their child in an early grave. You have a problem if you do not want your child to have a complete physical. Parents that work should have health insurance that will cover their children.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Sep 22, 2008

    "High School football should be banned in North Carolina."

    You people are sick. Please seek a doctor immediately. High school football SHOULD NOT be banned in NC or anywhere else.