Roane County High School officials said football player Alex Miller died after he suddenly collapsed during a road game at Clay County High School.
The high school senior was given immediate medical attention and taken to a local hospital, “but these efforts were ultimately unsuccessful,” Roane County Superintendent Dr. Richard Duncan said in a statement obtained by MetroNews.
Miller was a wide receiver on the school’s football team, the Raiders.
“The Roane County community suffered a tragic loss last night with the passing of Alex Miller,” Roan County High School wrote on Facebook. “Roane County High School will open its doors at noon today for the students to be with one another during this difficult time. Counselors, local pastors, teachers, parents and friends will be available as our community continues to grieve.”
Prayers for the young football player filled the comment section of the high school’s post. Several sports organizations and politicians also reacted to the tragic news.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said that his heart is “absolutely broken” by the loss, writing on Twitter: “Cathy and I are praying—with everything in us—for Alex’s family, friends, and the entire Roane County community during this unimaginably difficult time.”
President of the West Virginia State Senate Mitchell Carmichael also acknowledged the loss, writing on Twitter: “Today, we should take the time to keep the Roane County community in our thoughts and prayers after yesterday’s tragic loss of Alex Miller. Let us pray for comfort for his family and friends.”
The state’s Department of Education also extended its sympathies to Miller’s family on Twitter.
“The WVBE & the WVDE extend deepest sympathies to the Miller family, the Roane County HS football team & extended school community during this time. We offer support as you tend to the grief of students & families. Please know the state stands with you.”
Today, our hearts are absolutely broken by the tragic loss of Roane County High School football player Alex Miller. Cathy and I are praying — with everything in us — for Alex’s family, friends, and the entire Roane County community during this unimaginably difficult time.
— Governor Jim Justice (@WVGovernor) September 14, 2019
Today, we should take the time to keep the Roane County community in our thoughts and prayers after yesterday’s tragic loss of Alex Miller. Let us pray for comfort for his family and friends.
— Mitch Carmichael (@SenCarmichaelWV) September 14, 2019
The WVBE & the WVDE extend deepest sympathies to the Miller family, the Roane County HS football team & extended school community during this time. We offer support as you tend to the grief of students & families. Please know the state stands with you.
— WV Dept of Education (@WVeducation) September 14, 2019
Duncan told Metronews he doesn’t know what caused Miller’s collapse, but that everything seemed to happen “very suddenly.”
“They were coming off the field, right at the end of the first quarter,” said Duncan. “We did not see anything in particular that would have indicated an injury or a hit or anything … that would have caused it.”
“It just happened very suddenly, there, on the sideline.”
Layne Epling, Miller’s best friend and teammate, told MetroNews in a separate interview that he was there when Miller collapsed.
“He said he was dizzy and the trainer made him lie down and told me to talk to him. I started asking him questions and he knew the day, the month, and where he was, but then he stopped breathing and his eyes rolled back,” said Epling, who didn’t play that night because he was injured.
After Miller was rushed to the hospital, the game was stopped and the field became silent, the news outlet reported.
Duncan said that he cannot understate how much support the community has received since Miller’s passing.
“There are things that go beyond football and, certainly,” the superintendent said. “We’re seeing that right now.”