Police report reveals more about football player's death - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Police report reveals more about football player's death

A Millington police report reveals additional details about what happened leading up to the sudden death of a sophomore football player.

The coach told police that 15-year-old Dana Payne had caught a pass down field when he was tackled. The coach could tell he was in pain because he fell to his knees and did not get up.

The police report says Payne was holding his left arm as though his shoulder or rib was injured. When the football training staff began to help Payne, they noticed he was having trouble breathing.

Medics and firefighters arrived to the scene. Meanwhile, the rest of the football team was taken to the locker room.

Paramedics performed CPR on Payne and were able to get a pulse, but he went into full cardiac arrest and died at the hospital.

The coach told police Payne did not make complaints about his health before practice. An emergency room supervisor reports Payne was taking medication for asthma.

Only an autopsy can determine the official cause of death, but cardiologists say it could have been caused by a heart condition undetectable in a physical examination or by a specific kind of hit.

"It has to hit at basically a very specific point in the timing cycle of a heart rhythm, in which case a fatal rhythm problem can develop," said Dr. Jeff Kerlan, Stern Cardio Foundation. "Without knowing the exact sequence of events that took place in the instance that we're referring to, it would be a lot of speculation at this point."

There are more than 110,000 student athletes across Tennessee. The state high school athletic association says its policies seek to protect them all.

"Unfortunately you can go to every extreme possible in protecting and accidents do happen and it's certainly a very tragic event that occurred there last night," said Matthew Gillespie, Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA).

TSSAA plans to report Payne's death to its national federation.

Bows of black and gold, which are the colors for Millington Central High School, are hanging around Millington in memory of the beloved sophomore whose sudden death on the football field has an entire community reeling.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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