Memphis, TN – Fifteen-year-old Memphis high school student Dana Payne was killed on Wednesday after suffering what appeared to be a routine hit during his team’s afternoon practice.
The high school sophomore was participating in his team’s standard practice when he suffered a “standard hit” that left him laying on the ground. When team officials realized Payne was not getting up, they had an ambulance rush him to the hospital, but he died en route. Trainers had attempted to revive Dana Payne after he stopped breathing but were only briefly able to restore his heart beat.
The 5′ 11″ football player from Millington (Tennessee) Central was believed to be in good health before the collision that claimed his life.
In a statement following the tragedy, Shelby County Schools Superintendent John Aitken told the Commercial Appeal:
“[Payne's death is] a tragic loss. Anytime you lose a sophomore in high school it’s heartbreaking and it never gets easier.”
Following his odd death, students at the school banned together to rally the football team, putting black and gold ribbons around the town to honor Dana Payne.
After his high school years, Dana had hoped to attend Vanderbilt University and eventually go on to become a doctor in the community where he grew up.
Eight football players were transported to area hospitals following Dana’s death, each diagnosed with severe bouts of emotion distress.
Counselors are being provided for any students who want to talk about the death of their fellow football player and friend.
Our condolences go out to Dana White’s family, friends, and fellow players.