9-year-old Ohio boy, Wyatt Barber died during youth football practice in Meigs County. The 9-year-old boy was pronounced dead after he collapsed on the field. The football players from Eastern Elementary School had just completed running sprints during a non-contact Big Bend Youth Football practice.
Wyatt Barber stopped breathing during the youth football practice in Meigs County, according to Sheriff Keith Wood. Coaches immediately began performing CPR and called 911, MSN reports. When the first responders arrived at the Big Bend Youth Football practice, the coaches were still diligently attempting to revive the 9-year-old boy, the sheriff added.
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“During the process of stopping and taking a break, the young man collapsed. The coaches were working with the young man, and it just happened so, such a quick time frame of loss of him,” Sheriff Woods added during an interview about the Big Bend Youth Football player with WSAZ. “To have a death like that is just a terrible thing to see happen. We are family here, and were very closely connected in our community.”
Wyatt Barber was rushed to a local hospital but never regained consciousness. Flags were flown at half-staff at Eastern Elementary School in honor of the youth football player. In southern Ohio, most youth athletic programs are not directly affiliated with the local school district even though the team names, mascots, and colors are similar or identical school sports facilities are used.
A sports physical is not necessarily required to participate in youth sports programs in the region. It is not currently known if the Big Bend Youth Football organization required players to undergo an athletic physical before joining the team.
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“It is a somber mood,” Eastern Local Schools Superintendent Scott Gheen told reporters. “Kids are going to go through a process of healing, go through a process of grieving. So, we just do our best to make sure that we can give them whatever they need.”
The youth football coach found Wyatt collapsed on the field. Witnesses said the 9-year-old boy had been sitting on top of his helmet getting a drink of water just a few moments before he fell onto the grass.
The Eastern Eagles Facebook page is filled with condolences for the Wyatt Barber family, the Meigs County youth football team — Eastern Little Eagles — and the community. Football is taken very seriously in southern Ohio, and players take to the field at a very young age. Adults and students from schools in nearby counties, who are commonly competitors with Meigs County on the field and court, have issued an outpouring of support for the Barber family and the Eastern Eagles and hugged their children a little bit tighter on Tuesday evening.
The Meigs County Sheriff said he was unaware of any health issues or heart problems that Barber may have had. The local coroner, Douglas Hunter, is still investigating the cause of death on the youth football field.
A GoFundMe page was quickly created to help the family with funeral expenses.
The following is an excerpt from the Wyatt Barber GoFundMe page.
“The football program at Eastern is heartbroken as we lost one of our youngest little Super Eagles last night! His parents, siblings, family, teammates, coaches, friends, classmates, teachers & our football family need lifted up in prayers and surrounded by love & support from our small community! Wyatt was small but mighty and always smiling! He was our smallest Eagle on the sidelines on a Friday Night with our Varsity Eagles! Our #56 will forever be missed! Fly High Little buddy, WE LOVE YOU!”
The author is from a southern Ohio county adjacent to Meigs County.
[Image via Facebook]