Creekside football player dies from neck injury

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FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - A local community is mourning a 16-year-old high school football player who died from a neck injury in a Friday night pre-season game.

De'Antre Turman, of Union City, affectionately known as “Tre Tre,” was making a name for himself on and off the field, coaches said.

The Creekside High School 11th grader and cornerback for the Seminoles, died after being hurt on the Banneker High School field Friday night, the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Saturday morning.

Family members told Channel 2’s Steve Gehlbach Saturday the star player died doing what he loved.

"That is what made him the happiest. Being the competitor and playing different sports made him happy," said Turman's guardian Tarsha Keller.

Turman's mother died when he was 4 years old. But Keller has been his guardian since the fifth grade.

"We've raised him as our own," she said.

She said the Fulton County Coroner's Office confirmed he died of fractured third vertebrae.

"Basically he broke his neck," Keller said.

One of Turman's football coaches during the off-season watched the play from the field.

"Tre broke on it, dislodged the ball and his body just went limp. (He) immediately just went limp and he was on the ground," said coach Glenn Ford.

He ran over, but Turman wasn't breathing.

"(We were) calling out his name, just trying to get him to come back to open his eyes up to move until the ambulance got there," Ford said.

Ford said it took about 15 minutes for paramedics to arrive.

Turman was pronounced dead at Grady Memorial Hospital.

"Not only was he loved at his school, (and) at all schools around this entire community. People knew Tre Tre. They knew and loved him," Ford said.

He said Turman was a very good player. He had already been awarded a football scholarship to the University of Kentucky.

Click here to offer condolences to the family of Deantre Turman.