Graham teen collapses, dies following gym class

14-year-old Geremy Carter

May 27, 2011 4:33:04 AM PDT
A 14-year-old boy has died after collapsing in the Graham Middle School gym while playing basketball.

Witnesses said Geremy Carter was hit with a basketball during gym class at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. Police say someone passed him a basketball and it hit him in the abdomen. His mother thought it was a seizure.

"You know, you're thinking he's alive you know," Carter's mother, Liza Denis, said. "Okay, he had a seizure. He can come out of that. But when I got there and I saw them resuscitating, I already knew he was gone."

ABC11 spoke with Denis Thursday. She says her son did not have any pre-existing medical conditions and police have ruled out foul play.

"It wasn't nobody's fault," she added. "It was just an accident. They said he was okay and then he fell over and they started CPR immediately."

Graham Police Officer David Lewis said school personnel administered CPR and an ambulance was called. The teen was taken to Alamance Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Denis says she's not angry he's gone. She says her son wrote song lyrics in a handwritten note she found in his room after his death that indicated he knew he would die soon.

"I think it was, you know, his day had come and I think he knew," Denis said.

Carter wrote about his faith and it said in part, "Life is kind of like a plane. God is the pilot of the flight. When you die, what do you think happens? I think I'll be in heaven, where halo and robes will be the fashion. God loves me and he loves each and every one of you."

Still, the shock of her son's death is still settling in.

"I found me calling the hospital telling him I was coming to get him," Denis recalled. "You know, I know he's still there. Come pick him up. I know that it can't be true."

Denis appears very strong partly because of her deep Christian faith. She believes her son is with God.

"I just feel with Geremy comes joy," she said. "That's my thing now. [With] Geremy comes joy."

The 14-year-old was a young, vivacious student who recently started attending Graham Middle School. He also had attended Hope Mills Middle School.

Denis says a doctor told her the basketball may have hit an artery and caused something that traveled to the heart, but the cause of death won't be determined until the autopsy is completed.

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