The star footballer at a South Carolinian high school died unexpectedly during routine surgery on his knee. The tragedy occurred just a day after he committed to playing collegiately for Wingate University in North Carolina.
The Daily Mail reports that Nick Dixon, who was a senior at Spartanburg High School, underwent routine surgery on Friday. The operation was to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a torn meniscus in his knee. But during the operation, Dixon suffered complications and he was declared dead at 3 p.m. EST.
Dixon, who was known to his friends and family as “Big Nick” was an extremely talented football player who played in a number of different positions, including linebacker, defensive lineman, and running back. As well as agreeing to play for Wingate University on a four-year scholarship, he had also previously been selected to play in the Shrine Bowl, an annual all-star game that brings together the best young athletes in the Carolinas.
Spartanburg School District 7 Superintendent Dr. Russell Booker paid tribute to Dixon, saying “Nick was a wonderful student, wonderful athlete… [he] was part of our Viking early college program early during his high school career, which means he was already earning some college credits… He was one of the most elite athletes in his position.”
Dixon’s classmates gathered in the auditorium at Spartanburg High School on Monday to pay tribute to their friend, too. A close friend of Dixon and his family, Primes Woodruff, said at that event, “He had a very bright personality… Had a really, really big heart.”
“He took to this community so strongly – not just as an athlete but the pride he found in this community. It’s always a shock to people when someone so young and so vibrant loses their life.”
When asked how the Dixon family were coping with the tragedy, Woodruff said, “His mom’s taking it, you know, hard as expected. His stepfather is taking it hard, brothers and sisters [too].”
His friends have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to help the family with funeral costs.
On it, they say, “He was loved by his family and friends and was always the life of the party. Nicholas’ mother, Terri Littlejohn, will be the beneficiary of the funds that will be used for the funeral and burial expenses. Thank you for all your prayers and support during this time of bereavement.”
It has so far raised more than $16,000.