South Fulton County

Boy suffers brain damage from heat stroke during football practice

SOUTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — A 12-year-old boy is in the hospital with brain damage after suffering a heat stroke while playing football.

Johnny Tolbert was at practice at Welcome All Park in south Fulton County last Thursday when he collapsed during conditioning drills. It happened around 7:30 p.m. when the outside temperature was right around 90 degrees.

His family says he has brain damage that may keep him off the field permanently. %



"It's definitely on the brink of being fatal. We'll know within 24 hours," his aunt, Razhonge Landers, told Channel 2's Matt Johnson.

Doctors at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston told the family his condition was likely caused by the heat.

“They’re pretty confident that it's a heatstroke, still what they're leaning towards, he should have somewhat recovered by now,” Landers said.


It is Tolbert's first year with the Welcome All Panthers league and he has no history of seizures.

Johnson spoke to the league's football commissioner over the phone and he says he's saddened by what has happened.

He said he's working to keep parents more aware on how to hydrate their children and that coaches keep them hydrated at least four times per practice.

The family says prayer is more necessary than blame.

“We're just praying for healing and total recovery and we're just leaning on God for that instead of pointing fingers,” Landers said.

Family says they are hoping for a miracle.