SEVERE WX : Flash Flood Watch View Alerts

This video shows high school football player's last moments on the field before his death

The linebacker in the red No. 32 jersey for Pike County High School was all over the field Friday night....

Posted: Oct 4, 2018 1:39 PM
Updated: Oct 4, 2018 1:39 PM

The linebacker in the red No. 32 jersey for Pike County High School was all over the field Friday night.

Dylan Thomas, the 16-year-old linebacker, fought off blockers twice his size. He tackled ball-carriers to the turf. And then he got back up and did it again.

Coaches and trainers

Deaths and fatalities

Diseases and disorders

Football (American)

Head injuries

Health and medical

Society

Sports and recreation

Wounds and injuries

Brain injuries

Death and dying

Neurological disorders and injuries

Continents and regions

Georgia

North America

Southeastern United States

The Americas

United States

Arts and entertainment

Game shows

Television programming

Education

Education systems and institutions

Extracurricular activities

High school football

High school sports

High schools

Primary and secondary education

Until he couldn't anymore.

Video of Dylan's final game was released by Pike County High School on Wednesday, less than a week after the game and days after the teenager's shocking death.

He died on Sunday from a head injury that first showed its impact in the third quarter, when he came off the field and said his leg was feeling weird, coach Brad Webber said. He later became incoherent and lost consciousness on the sideline.

The footage does not clearly show any traumatic or catastrophic hits to his head. At one point in the second quarter, he is seen in the video being hit by two players on a running play and is slow to get up afterward. He gets up after that and continues playing.

But in the third quarter, the camera cuts to the sideline, where Dylan is being carried on a stretcher toward an ambulance that had driven onto the field. The crowd claps supportively, unaware of the devastation to come.

The video does little to solve the major unanswered question: What exactly caused this healthy high school football player's death?

"The questioning coming from everyone is when did it happen," Pike County School Superintendent Michael Duncan said. "We understand. We just don't know."

Obituary asks guests to wear jerseys

The release of the video comes on the same day his family will begin to pay tribute to Dylan, who Webber described as a fine young man and the "heart and soul" of the team's defense.

"Dylan lived life to the fullest," his obituary says. "He was a true friend, who never met a stranger."

Dylan's death has rattled the rural community in and around Zebulon, Georgia, where Dylan's Pike County Pirates play. Residents have gathered for vigils and put up his No. 32 jersey online and around the town. Students at nearby schools wore red and black, Pike County's team colors, and rival football teams have offered up their own No. 32 jerseys in solidarity.

Prior to football, Dylan played recreational baseball and he enjoyed fishing as well as deer hunting, his obituary says.

A visitation is scheduled Wednesday afternoon at Moody-Daniel Funeral Home and a memorial service will take place Thursday at the Oak Hill Baptist Church in Zebulon. The family also asked that all football players who attend the service wear their jerseys.

In addition, his teammates were given the option to skip an away game this Friday in Macon.

Shirley Reeves, the chairwoman of the Child Fatality Review Committee for Upson & Pike County, said all child fatalities in Georgia are reviewed by a board when the death is sudden, unexpected or unexplained.

"This case will be reviewed according to those procedures. Our office will not comment any further out of respect for the family of Dylan Thomas and the Pike County Community," Reeves said.

How did he get injured?

Coach Webber has said they cannot pinpoint a clear big hit or collision that explains Dylan's death.

"That makes it almost harder as well that we just didn't know," he said. "If you know, you can prevent things. But just the way that happened, it's just devastating. It's just sad."

In reviewing the game film and speaking with school officials, the Georgia High School Association, which oversees Georgia high school sports, said there was no indication Dylan suffered an injury in the second quarter.

The high schooler was wearing a top-of-the-line Riddell SpeedFlex helmet that his parents had bought for him to prevent a head injury.

"Dylan's dad took his own money and bought an NFL-quality helmet for Dylan, because he was somewhat concerned about head injuries," said Steve Fry, a first responder and the mayor of Williamson, Georgia.

The Georgia High School Association said there is no evidence of negligence in his death.

"There is no indication of any negligent action by anyone associated with Pike County in this incident," the GHSA said. "The coaches had taken every precaution to prepare for potential injuries and went beyond the required standards when working within the concussion protocol."

He was scared of hurting others

The excitement of Friday night football became a nightmare for Dylan's family and also his coach.

"Any time I see one of our players on the ground, you just fear for the worst," said Webber. "The worst happened this time."

Nick Burgess, Dylan's uncle, posted on Facebook that Dylan had been scared of injuries on the field.

"The one that had the biggest heart. The one that told me personally he was always scared to seriously hurt somebody on the field and never thought it would happen to him," Burgess wrote.

Game-related deaths of football players are rare, but they happen every fall. Last year, of the 4 million young people who played organized football, 13 died from the sport, according to the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research.

Four of the deaths had "direct" causes from on-field trauma or injuries, and nine deaths were due to "indirect" causes such as heat stroke or cardiac arrest. The 2017 death toll was consistent with football-related fatalities dating back to 2000.

Professional and college football administrators have been increasingly focused on limiting head injuries amid concerns in recent years that the country's most popular sport is damaging young people's brains. Efforts to limit concussions and other brain injuries have found mixed results, given the inherent violence of a sport based on large, fast men and boys repeatedly crashing into each other.

Huntsville
Overcast
65° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 65°
Florence
Overcast
69° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 69°
Fayetteville
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 64°
Decatur
Overcast
65° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 65°
Scottsboro
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 64°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 133433

Reported Deaths: 2349
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19306349
Mobile13233291
Montgomery8748177
Madison770978
Tuscaloosa7418116
Lee579261
Shelby578750
Baldwin514149
Marshall389244
Etowah340247
Calhoun340140
Morgan323926
Houston276423
Elmore259647
DeKalb237519
St. Clair226337
Walker225383
Talladega210628
Limestone203319
Cullman186818
Dallas175926
Franklin175229
Russell17322
Autauga171525
Lauderdale167333
Colbert162926
Blount158015
Escambia157725
Jackson154011
Chilton152431
Dale134644
Covington133427
Coffee12988
Pike11799
Chambers114442
Tallapoosa113885
Clarke107017
Marion95429
Butler91139
Barbour8517
Winston71812
Marengo70519
Lowndes65227
Pickens64514
Bibb63810
Randolph62713
Hale61928
Lawrence60522
Bullock59714
Geneva5864
Cherokee58315
Monroe5808
Clay5547
Washington55113
Perry5396
Conecuh53011
Wilcox53011
Crenshaw52732
Henry4835
Macon47920
Fayette4358
Sumter43219
Lamar3572
Choctaw34412
Cleburne3356
Greene30315
Coosa1673
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 186798

Reported Deaths: 2277
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby30397449
Davidson26194297
Hamilton926392
Knox911575
Rutherford911388
Williamson513936
Sumner475093
Wilson341243
Putnam317038
Montgomery301543
Out of TN296825
Unassigned29046
Bradley288317
Madison278060
Sevier255315
Blount246123
Maury228923
Washington223234
Robertson218835
Sullivan209332
Hamblen187325
Tipton176617
Trousdale16517
Gibson158620
Hardeman154625
Wayne14896
Bedford131717
Dyer131413
Dickson123014
Cumberland116918
Fayette116718
Coffee115612
Anderson115311
Henderson115121
Weakley114519
Carter114128
Loudon11316
Greene111839
Obion11129
McMinn109424
Jefferson108514
Macon103320
Warren10197
Monroe101017
Lawrence100311
Hardin99115
Lauderdale94915
Franklin9458
Haywood93316
Lake9192
Roane8643
Carroll84918
Bledsoe8484
McNairy82418
White8069
Cheatham80510
Rhea79111
Hawkins78016
Cocke7379
Marshall7335
Overton7085
Smith69710
Johnson6622
Henry6129
Chester60510
Lincoln5961
Giles57617
Hickman5535
DeKalb55013
Crockett52919
Marion5167
Decatur4956
Fentress4623
Claiborne4384
Campbell4243
Polk38010
Grainger3603
Union3451
Benton3349
Jackson3145
Morgan3103
Cannon2810
Unicoi2811
Grundy2635
Humphreys2433
Sequatchie2262
Meigs2213
Clay2155
Scott2082
Houston1981
Stewart1822
Lewis1791
Moore1611
Van Buren1590
Perry1490
Hancock1073
Pickett1072

Community Events