West Orange Starks Football Player dies….. read details

West Orange-Stark head coach and athletic director Dan Hooks said district officials will meet Sunday to determine whether or not the team will play its next two games. The Mustangs have two non-district games ahead. They were scheduled to play Giddings Saturday, Sept. 25 in Conroe and Kirbyville in two weeks.

A West Orange assistant coach told reporters earlier that the game would not take place next week but that decision is not official until Sunday’s meeting.

WEST ORANGE, Texas – West Orange-Stark football player Reggie Garrett died Friday after he collapsed on the sideline during a high school football game at Dan R. Hooks Stadium.

Garrett appeared unresponsive as medics carted him off the field following his collapse midway through the second quarter. Medics loaded Garrett into an ambulance and the game continued to its conclusion, a 27-6 victory for WO-S against Jasper.

Garrett was pronounced dead at Memorial Hermann Baptist-Orange at 9:30 p.m. Friday night, according to hospital spokeswoman Mary Poole.

Garrett arrived at the emergency room at 8:30 p.m. Poole said an autopsy has been ordered and the death is being investigated.

WO-S coach Dan Hooks said Garrett appeared to experience a seizure. Hooks said Garrett’s mother said Garrett had suffered a seizure “maybe three years ago,” said Hooks, who credited Garrett as a much-improved team leader.

A 6-foot-2, 175-pound senior quarterback, Garrett had just thrown his second touchdown pass of the game and trotted to the sideline. He collapsed after an extra point gave WO-S a 21-0 lead.

“I saw him come off the field, and he was kind of, ‘Yay, good shot.’ He was happy,” Hooks said. “That was all. There wasn’t any major reaction.”

WO-S assistant coach Cornel Thompson said players tapped his shoulder and pointed to Garrett after he got to the sideline.

“Kids tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘Coach, Reggie,’” Thompson said. “I turned around and seen him on his knees and then moved him on his side. They thought he was having a seizure.”

Several WO-S players dropped to one knee as medics tended to Garrett. Other players put their arms around each other as the stadium fell silent. Medics slowly removed Garrett shoulder pads and jersey top as he lay motionless on his side.

Word about Garrett’s death began to filter through the stadium soon after the third quarter began. WO-S held a 27-0 halftime lead, and the teams continued to play until the final seconds ticked off the clock.

Hooks said the teams continued to play because of the uncertainty about Garrett’s status.

“We really didn’t know until, we just kind of found out,” Hooks said. “I couldn’t verify. It was kind of a rumor. It was just horrible.”

Garrett was a second-year varsity starting quarterback well liked by his teammates.

“You see how these kids reacted,” Hooks said. “He’s just super. A good student. It will be hard for them. It will take a long time for them to get over that. Me too.”

May he rest in peace my condolence goes out to his family and friends as well as the West Orange Starks High School.

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