Archive for Friday, October 29, 2010

Spring Hill High School football player dies after collapsing during game

Father says his son had a concussion in early October

October 29, 2010, 9:07 a.m. Updated October 29, 2010, 12:49 p.m.


Spring Hill, Kansas

— A northeast Kansas high school senior who died Friday after collapsing during a football game had sustained a concussion during a recent football game, his father said.

Nathan Stiles, 17, a linebacker for Spring Hill, Kan., left the game against Osawatomie, Kan., before half time Thursday evening. He collapsed on the sidelines, and was flown to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead early Friday. A cause of death was not immediately released.

Ron Stiles, Nathan Stiles' father, said he was not certain what caused his son's death. But he said Nathan had sustained a concussion in the school's homecoming game earlier this month.

"He had a concussion several weeks ago from football, from that homecoming game," Ron Stiles said. "He had the green light to play, and I don't know exactly what all has happened there. The problem is that he definitely had the trauma."

Stiles said "there wasn't any type of malicious hit" during the game Thursday.

"There was certainly nothing that was done that was bad by any part of any player. I certainly don't want that to be thought," he said. "The last thing I thought we'd be doing is losing my son that night."

Christine Splichal, spokeswoman for the Spring Hill School District, which is about 10 miles south of Kansas City, said the district had arranged for counselors to be available to students and staff Friday. About 587 students attend Spring Hill High School.

She said Stiles was "an extremely popular student and achieved in many different areas" and that his death was a "horrible tragedy for our entire community."

"I am going to say he was a very well-liked student and will be missed horribly," she said.

Rick Bowden, assistant executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, said he did not know if Stiles had a concussion. He said there are no rules governing when a player can return to play after being diagnosed with a concussion.

"We really leave that up to the physician," he said.

Bowden said officials and coaches at the game Thursday did not remember seeing "anything to give them any indication he had suffered any type of head injury."

The National Federation of State High School Associations said seven player deaths have been reported among its high schools so far this season, not including Stiles. Last year, 11 deaths were reported among the 1.1 million students playing in the NFSHSA's registered programs.

Gary French, superintendent of Osawatomie schools, said he attended the Thursday game and that students and staff at Osawatomie also had been deeply troubled about Stiles' death.

"I understand he was a tremendous young man. A great family," French said. "There is concern with our entire football team. We have football team players who are taking it really hard. I can only imagine what's happening with the Spring Hill players.

"We got a lot of tears."

Stiles, who described his son as "very solid," said Nathan had been involved with a couple area churches and often was willing to lend a hand.

"He was always very good about helping others," he said. "I'm very proud of him."


hail2oldku 7 years, 4 months ago


Prayers to the players family, friends and the school.

hail2oldku 7 years, 4 months ago

Sorry - player's - possessive, instead of players - plural.

Though I should include the player's teammates which would be players.

janinks 7 years, 4 months ago

I can't believe you didn't get anything more from this article than grammar, very heartless.

hail2oldku 7 years, 4 months ago

If you would pay attention, you would see that I am correcting my own grammar. I did this in order to avoid the corrections from the grammar Nazis on the forum. Instead I get a dumbass response like yours calling me heartless.

anonyname 7 years, 4 months ago

Thoughts go to the boy's family. How awful.

On a much less important note, it's interesting that the LJW reports that he died Thursday evening during the game and he died Friday morning at the hospital. I'm sure it was beyond painful for his family and friends for him to die once, much less twice.

janinks 7 years, 4 months ago

Yes our thoughts and prayer's go out to this boy's family, I can't even imagine what they must be going through today. I doubt that the family would read into the article as you did about when he passed, the point is they lost their son!

janinks 7 years, 4 months ago

Yes our thoughts and prayer's go out to this boy's family, I can't even imagine what they must be going through today. I doubt that the family would read into the article as you did about when he passed, the point is they lost their son!

heyall 7 years, 4 months ago

He went down at around 8pm thursday and never "woke up" he died at 4 am friday morning

BillybobThorten 7 years, 4 months ago

According to the Olathe News, Nathan had missed "at least" one other game this season because of concussions.

Truami 7 years, 4 months ago

This event is one of many that are really causing a concern for the sport of football this year. With the boy here in Lawrence who is without a leg and the new regulations in the NFL, it’s almost as though fate in and of itself is rebelling back against the choices of men in sports. How many people die or obtain life altering injuries every year from football? How many obtain life threatening injuries every year from football?

I believe, in order to keep the sport going, these statistics should be readily available to the students by their coaches and parents every year. If it still becomes a problem, it,s going to be left to the old phrase, everyone has their choices in life.

BillybobThorten 7 years, 4 months ago

I agree, but lets not create unintended consequences. Boys, being what they are, if not allowed to play soccer ( more concussions that football every year), Football, Hockey, Rubgy etc, will potentially find other equally risky endevours. More time in cars is more risky than any of these sports. In football, kids have become so strong and fast with year round training, and the vast improvements in Helmets over the years has created a false-positive sense of safety. Players in the old days knew not to lead with thier heads since it would lead to immediate pain. Now, the damage is being done in a delayed fashion like what just happened. Coaches need to be educated and medical personel and trainers should not be reportable to the coaches.

Alia Ahmed 7 years, 4 months ago

Among highlights of the fall data:

•Concussion is the second-most frequent injury in fall football and women’s soccer, and the fourth-most frequent injury in field hockey, men’s soccer and women’s volleyball. •Concussion accounts for 7.2 percent of game injuries across the five fall sports and 4.7 percent of injuries suffered during practice. •Of every 1,000 student-athletes who take the field in any given competition, 2.7 suffer a concussion in football, compared to 2.1 in women’s soccer and 1.1 in men’s soccer. •Concussions during competition accounted for about 11 percent of injuries in women’s soccer, 9 percent of injuries in field hockey, 6 percent of injuries in football and men’s soccer, and 4 percent of injuries in women’s volleyball.

justforfun 7 years, 4 months ago

Lost leg was McClouth. None the less tragic however.

Jeteras 7 years, 4 months ago

I am 35 and still to this day have friends that have had multiple hip, knee, elbow you name it surgeries due to "high school football". Sometimes you have to ask yourself "is it worth it?" you sure have alot of life to live after 18 and noone will care once you graduate. I am so glad my father instilled this into me after my freshman year with a broken toe.. an after school job sounds better than a lifelong of pain and medical costs.

tragic story,, payers for the family.

MustHaveSalt 7 years, 4 months ago

A similar thing happened to a football player at my high school almost 40 years ago. I think of him often, as I will Nathan. Prayers to the family, his teammates, coaches, school and community.

Bruce Bertsch 7 years, 4 months ago

.17 out of every 100,000 players die from a football injury. That is one out of every 588,000. All of us who have played football knew it was dangerous. I played in the days when a concussion was considered less serious than an ankle sprain.Nothing will make football, basketball, baseball or even soccer "safe" to play, there will always be some danger. I hope the media and others will accept the family's request that they are allowed to digest this loss in private.

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