Lakeside athlete dies at Family Y

Center on school basketball team collapses on court

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A Lakeside High School athlete collapsed and died Monday afternoon after a basketball game with friends.

Vergil King: Senior was 11 days short of his 18th birthday. An autopsy is to be performed in Atlanta today.   Special
Special
Vergil King: Senior was 11 days short of his 18th birthday. An autopsy is to be performed in Atlanta today.

Columbia County schools were closed for the Columbus Day holiday, so Lakeside High senior Vergil King used the time away from classes to hone his basketball game at the Wilson Branch of The Family Y on Wheeler Road.

"Mr. King ... walked off the court when he lay down on the floor at the end of the court and grabbed his chest," Richmond County Coroner Grover Tuten said in an e-mail.

King, who was just 11 days shy of his 18th birthday, was taken to Doctors Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:40 p.m., Tuten said.

Danny McConnell, the president and chief executive officer of The Family Y, doesn't believe King made it out of the gym alive.

"We're fairly confident that when he left the branch here that (EMTs) were having a hard time getting a pulse or any breathing from him," McConnell said.

Several Family Y staff with medical training rushed to help King, but McConnell said nothing could be done.

"He had a lot of assistance pretty quick," he said. "It just happened pretty quick."

Lakeside Athletic Director Donnie Burch called King a "naturally gifted basketball player."

"This is a shock to everybody," said Burch, who coached King on the school's junior varsity squad. "He was in good shape. ... Those things aren't supposed to happen."

Burch said that King, a starting center for the Panthers, had not decided on plans to play basketball in college but that he was good enough.

"He had all the tools to go play in college," he said.

When classes at Lakeside resume today, school psychologists and counselors will be on hand in the media center for students who need them, said Burch, who is a school counselor.

"The big thing with Vergil is he was well-liked by the student body," Burch said. "He had a lot of friends."

Counseling for King's family and staff at The Family Y also will be available, McConnell said.

"Anytime something like this happens, it is an emotional time for everyone involved," he said. "We're in the middle of that and trying to show support for the family, who obviously is hurting."

King is the second Lakeside High athlete to die this year. Football player Nicholas Deshawn Hartfield, 17, drowned in August while swimming with friends in the Savannah River.

Tuten said an autopsy will be performed today at the state crime lab in Atlanta to determine the cause of death.

Comments (46) Add comment
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sueboo418
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sueboo418 10/11/10 - 04:10 pm
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Oh my!! So young, just a

Oh my!! So young, just a tragedy. Prayers to the family.

Dee Laurean
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Dee Laurean 10/11/10 - 04:27 pm
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According to one of his

According to one of his friends on the scene, it's believed to have been a heart attack. God Bless!

Cadence
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Cadence 10/11/10 - 04:42 pm
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This is so terribly sad. Why

This is so terribly sad. Why does this happen so often now? I feel so sad for his family.

PUPPYMOMMA
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PUPPYMOMMA 10/11/10 - 04:54 pm
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My condolences to the family.

My condolences to the family.

storiesihaveread
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storiesihaveread 10/11/10 - 05:09 pm
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So sad and such a young age.

So sad and such a young age. Prayers go out to the family.

Farmboy
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Farmboy 10/11/10 - 05:14 pm
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Prayers to the family!!

Prayers to the family!!

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 10/11/10 - 05:19 pm
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This is so gut-wrenchingly

This is so gut-wrenchingly sad. I just wish there could be a requirement for complete cardio work-ups on young athletes to find rhythm disturbance issues before these kids drop dead.

I know it only would happen if hospitals and echo techs offered exams as a public service, but we lose at least one kid a year because of undiscovered heart issues. I'd sure do it.

Quack Quack Quack
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Quack Quack Quack 10/11/10 - 05:28 pm
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Wow, this is so sad. Prayers

Wow, this is so sad. Prayers to Mr. King's family and friends.

Cheeched
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Cheeched 10/11/10 - 05:45 pm
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For once Fiat and I are in

For once Fiat and I are in agreement. My condolences to the family and friends :(

Rolling Eyes
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Rolling Eyes 10/11/10 - 06:19 pm
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My sympathies to the King

My sympathies to the King family in this time of heartache.

Mwilli5009
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Mwilli5009 10/11/10 - 06:24 pm
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Fiat is right on target. The

Fiat is right on target. The testing is expensive if done privately. It would have to be done for free to be feasible. But, the rate in which these events occur screams for this to be a necessary pre-req for high school sports and in general for active young adults.

We have to head this off now before more young lives are lost.

Batman
18
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Batman 10/11/10 - 06:26 pm
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So sad. My condolences to the

So sad. My condolences to the family.

TK3
562
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TK3 10/11/10 - 07:07 pm
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Condolences to the family. I

Condolences to the family. I see no real need for government school risky sports .

lhspantherlove
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lhspantherlove 10/11/10 - 07:48 pm
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Rest in Peace Vergil . . .

Rest in Peace Vergil . . . you're in the hearts of many tonight buddy <3

corgimom
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corgimom 10/11/10 - 07:49 pm
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Why don't all of you wait

Why don't all of you wait until the cause of death is determined, instead of assuming things?

augusta citizen
10075
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augusta citizen 10/11/10 - 08:00 pm
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This is so sad, my prayers

This is so sad, my prayers are with his family.

christyanne76
44
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christyanne76 10/11/10 - 08:03 pm
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I'm so sad hearing this.

I'm so sad hearing this. Vergil was a friend to my 3 boys...he was always sweet and polite at my home...he will be greatly missed! Keeping the family in my prayers...

Fiat_Lux
16450
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Fiat_Lux 10/12/10 - 10:15 am
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I think most of us posting

I think most of us posting comments of sympathy and concern will assume the best about this young man and express our sadness over the tragedy of his death, whatever its cause turns out to be. No matter what the cause, it is painful even to us who are perfect strangers.

rmwhitley
5547
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rmwhitley 10/11/10 - 08:10 pm
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Bless his soul.
Unpublished

Bless his soul.

sassygirl3914
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sassygirl3914 10/11/10 - 08:13 pm
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OHH MY GOODNESS THIS IS SO

OHH MY GOODNESS THIS IS SO SAD..I HATE TO HEAR ABOUT ANOTHER YOUNG GUY THAT HAS DIED. MY PRAYERS GO OUT TO HIS FAMILY AND HIS FRIENDS..MAY HE REST IN PEACE. GOD BLESS

Doyougetitnow
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Doyougetitnow 10/11/10 - 08:36 pm
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The saddest of days is when

The saddest of days is when you lose a child and it is a most difficult time to bear. The words are meant to be comforting from loved ones and friends. May Peace come to you and I pray you can rest in the comfort of knowing that only God has all the answers. I am so very sorry for the loss of this young person who it seems was loved by many and so well thought of. May God lift up his countenance upon you and give you Peace.

Riverman1
94465
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Riverman1 10/11/10 - 08:36 pm
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It is a shame such a young

It is a shame such a young athlete has died. Medically, it's difficult to predict such occurrences if it was a cardiac event. Stress tests find coronary artery disease usually found in older people. Listening to the heart with a stethoscope can find existing arrhythmias as can EKG's, but predicting future problems is an inexact science, especially with young people.

recoveringaddict
192
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recoveringaddict 10/11/10 - 08:50 pm
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Oh, how terribly

Oh, how terribly heartbreaking. My prayers and thoughts are with this young man's family. I cannot even begin to imagine what they are going through right now.

abouttime
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abouttime 10/11/10 - 09:09 pm
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Our thoughts and prayers are

Our thoughts and prayers are with the King family. Vergil will be missed by many.

Fiat_Lux
16450
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Fiat_Lux 10/11/10 - 09:23 pm
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River, that's why an echo,

River, that's why an echo, even a stress echo, is the way to go. Of course you're right about the predictive value of EKGs, but stress tests can reveal rhythm abnormalities in the young. Obviously, a Holter monitor is not realistic for every athlete but a simple echo would probably save dozens of kids every year around the nation.

Mwilli5009
0
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Mwilli5009 10/11/10 - 09:23 pm
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Hypertrophic

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

HCM is frequently asymptomatic until sudden cardiac death, and is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. HCM can be detected with an echocardiogram with 80%+ accuracy,[citation needed] which can be preceded by screening with an electrocardiogram (ECG) to test for heart abnormalities. History and physical examination alone are ineffective,[when defined as?] giving warning of heart abnormalities in only 3% of patients before sudden cardiac death.[8] One study found that the incidence of sudden cardiovascular death in young competitive athletes declined in the Veneto region of Italy by 89% since introduction of routine Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Screening of athletes.[23]

(Wikipedia)

soldout
1283
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soldout 10/11/10 - 09:24 pm
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So sad. For many years you

So sad. For many years you never heard of this happening and now there is more and more. I don't if there is more or we just hear of it more. Diets have totally changed over the past 40 years so that might be first place to look for causes.

corgimom
38805
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corgimom 10/11/10 - 09:52 pm
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Fiat- "I think most of us

Fiat- "I think most of us will assume the best"??? The best???

A 17 year old collapses and dies suddenly- what is "the best" about that?

Nobody knows yet why he died. And it doesn't much matter, it's a tragedy no matter what.

For people to assume that they know why this young man passed, based on a short newspaper story, is wrong.

And if that were me and my son, I wouldn't appreciate it. It would be hurtful. And I don't think anybody on here would appreciate it if it happened to them. Assumptions and speculation aren't helpful.

Why don't y'all wait until the official cause of death is announced before y'all decide what should and shouldn't be done? Because none of you know yet what happened.

My deepest condolences to the family and friends of that man. What a heartache.

csrareader
1288
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csrareader 10/11/10 - 09:53 pm
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So very sad.

So very sad.

Southern_Patriot
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Southern_Patriot 10/11/10 - 09:58 pm
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condolences to the family

condolences to the family

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