WAYNESBORO, Ga. - A Burke County High School football player has died after collapsing during practice.
Roddrick "Rod" Williams died Monday night, about two weeks after officials say the junior offensive lineman collapsed shortly after football practice began Sept. 22 in Waynesboro.
The coach said they were just starting a drill when Williams' collapsed. The school trainer immediately started CPR, continuing until an ambulance arrived.
Williams had been hospitalized at Children’s Hospital of Georgia since that day, and was surrounded by his family, pastor, friends and coaches on the day he died.
Burke County Coroner Susan Salemi says she suspects Williams died because of a heart condition. Salemi says an autopsy has been performed on Williams' body, but the results were not yet available, as of Tuesday.
Students and staff members gathered at the school's flag pole Tuesday morning to remember Williams.
Williams was a beloved member of not only the football team, but also the school band. He played tuba in the Pride of Burke County symphonic band, according to the school system’s spokeswoman. Pastors and grief counselors were on hand at Burke County High School on Tuesday.
Wednesday night, the football team, along with a team from a nearby private school, gathered to pray together.
Teammates say they are dedicating this season to Williams.
The Burke County Bears play at Liberty County High School in Hinesville on Friday.
Williams’ funeral is planned for Saturday at 1 p.m. in J.D. Smith Auditorium at Burke County High School.