Cumberland County high school football player dies after practice

Evan Raines (Facebook photo)
August 5, 2013 12:39:30 PM PDT
A junior at a Cumberland County high school died Saturday morning after falling ill at the end of football practice.

Cumberland County Superintendent Dr. Frank Till said Seventy-First High School football player Evan Raines went to a coach at the end of the light practice saying he didn't feel well.

Raines was treated by emergency medical workers before he was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, where he later died. It is unclear what caused the 16 year old's death.

Till said Raines passed a physical examination prior to the beginning of practice.

However, one of Raines' teammates told ABC11 Monday that Raines felt lightheaded before their last sprint.

"He ran his fastest on the last sprint," Keonte Mitchell said. "He gave it his all, he came in first. (Then) he said, 'I can't breathe, I can't breathe.'"

On Monday morning, the Falcon's coach led the team in a meeting before practice, reflecting on the loss of their friend.

"He was just like my big brother," teammate Amarii Drummond said. "He kept me on my toes playing football. It ain't going to be the same without him. "

Raines was listed on last year's Seventy-First roster as a 6-foot-1, 210-pound defensive end.

There is hope the school will retire Raines' number as a tribute, but that decision is on hold for now.

Meanwhile, Raines' father said they are "taking each moment ... as it comes."

"He either wanted to go into sports medicine or become a pediatrician, because he loved babies, and babies loved him," Rodney Raines said. "The neighbors' children always liked Evan."

Funeral arraignments for the 16 year old have not yet been finalized.

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