Haywood football player hospitalized one day before teammate dies
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BROWNSVILLE, Tenn. — One Tomcat football player’s mom said the death of a high school football player Wednesday could have been prevented. Tiffany Worles spoke exclusively to WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News about the extreme dehydration and heat exhaustion her son suffered after football practice Tuesday morning. A day later, another Tomcat football player, Tekarian Maclin, died after being flown to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis. Worles said her son, Darrian, also had to be hospitalized after practice. “He was close to dying — he was close to death,” she said. “He had no body fluids. His lips were blue. His eyes were sunk in the back of his head. He couldn’t urinate.” Worles said Darrian called her from practice Tuesday complaining of severe leg cramps. She said once he got home he collapsed in the doorway of the family apartment. Once at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, doctors told Worles her son had severe heat exhaustion and dehydration. Worles said she reported the incident to school officials one day prior to Maclin’s death. “He said when it reaches 104 we don’t practice. I said, well, it was 104 before Darrian had even left the house,” Worles said. Darrian was released from the hospital Tuesday. He said he began feeling better until he heard of the death of his teammate. “I truly believe he died because of the heat,” he said. Worles said the heat was too much for her son and the entire team. “If they had took into consideration what had happened with Darrian, maybe another child would not have lost his life due to the same issue,” she said. State regulations require football players to stop outdoor practices if heat indices go higher than 105 degrees. Meteorologists say the heat index hit 109 degrees in Haywood County by 11 a.m. Wednesday. “I didn’t want to be in the heat myself, but we’ve got to do what coach tells us to do. I hope nobody else dies,” Darrian said. Haywood County Sheriff Melvin Bond confirms the death of Maclin is under investigation. He wouldn’t release many details since it’s still an open case. Worles said her son will no longer be on the team. “I almost lost my son the other day, but due to the heat another player may have lost his life, and their life is more important than playing football.” Darrian said he will always be a proud Tomcat.