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High school football player dies after collapsing at practice

Joshua Ivory, 15, went into distress on the first day of practice at Southwest High School in Macon, Georgia, prompting coaches to call an ambulance.
/ Source: The Associated Press

MACON, Ga. — A 15-year-old high school football player died after collapsing at the first day of practice in middle Georgia.

Bibb County school district officials say Joshua Ivory, a student at Southwest High School in Macon, went into distress Monday, prompting coaches to call an ambulance.

Monday was the first day of practice for teams statewide. Rules call for a five-day period for players to get used to heat and physical exertion while practicing in shorts and helmets. Aug. 2 is the first day that players are allowed to practice in pads.

According to the National Weather Service, Macon reached a high of 97 degrees on Monday before 4 p.m. The practice started at 6 p.m., according to The Telegraph of Macon.

Ivory died in a hospital emergency room, Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones said. No cause of death has been announced and an autopsy is planned.

Bibb County schools Athletic Director Barney Hester told The Telegraph that Southwest High head coach Joe Dupree saw what was happening and followed state rules.

“We called 911, the fire truck was here in five to six minutes,” Hester told the newspaper. “It was handled in a timely manner. ... Joe Dupree and his staff did a really remarkable job when we realized we had a student in distress.”

“The loss of one of our students in Bibb County is huge,” Hester said. “We are all grieving. We have a young man that unfortunately is not going to be with us anymore and we have to deal with that.”

The district canceled practices Tuesday and are reviewing how practices are conducted.

“Joshua was a wonderful young man full of promise and zeal. He had an infectious smile and a very kind heart. He enjoyed sports and spending time with his family,” Southwest principal A. Bernard Young said in a statement Tuesday. “Joshua’s personality made it easy for him to make a great impression and huge impact on his teammates, coaches, and the entire Southwest family.”

Young said district counselors would be available to students and employees. Hester said the district will honor Ivory.

The Georgia High School Association said it is gathering information.