A 15-year-old Columbus basketball player collapsed and died today after a pickup game at Carver High School, authorities said.
Antwon Whitehead, a sophomore at Carver High School, was pronounced dead at 4:10 p.m. in the emergency room at The Medical Center, Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan said. No trauma or foul play is suspected in the death. An autopsy will be performed Sunday in Atlanta.
Bryan said the teen, 6 foot-6 inches tall and weighing 180 pounds, was at the 3100 Eighth St. school gym playing basketball with other players. “They were just kids shooting some hoops on a Saturday afternoon,” Bryan said.
After a game, Whitehead went to the sideline and collapsed.
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Bryan said an enlarged heart runs in the teen’s family, but it's unknown what may have caused his death. The teen was non responsive at the gym. He was transported by ambulance to the emergency room.
Columbus police were notified about the death, but there is no reason for an investigation, Bryan said.
“He didn’t fall or hit his head or anything,” the coroner said. “He collapsed.”
The death of Whitehead is difficult for basketball coach Warren Beaulah. The teen was projected to start as a forward on the team this year.
“He was playing a pickup basketball game and I think he had just lost a game and went to the side line,” Beaulah said. “I guess he collapsed and he’s gone.”
The coached described Whitehead as a smart teen who came to school and did his work. “He was one of those kids that everybody thought he had a bright future,” he said.
The players just come into the new gym and have fun. “They were laughing and having fun and he is gone,” Beaulah said. “He wasn’t doing anything hard. It’s an air-conditioned gym. He only played one game.”
The death is not only a big loss for his family but also Carver and everybody, the coach said. Counselors will be at the school Monday to help students.
“He was well liked,” Beaulah said. “I’m still thinking that I’m going to wake us and see him in school Monday, knowing that's not going to happen. It’s tough to swallow.”