REMEMBERING #80: West Virginia community mourns high school football player who collapsed, died during game


CLAY COUNTY, West Virginia (WOWK) – A community is mourning after a West Virginia high school football player collapsed and died during a game.

Alex Miller, a senior at Roane County High School, collapsed on the field during a game Friday night. He was immediately given emergency medical aid and transported to a local hospital, where he died.

“The Roane County community suffered a tragic loss last night with the passing of Alex Miller,” Roane County Schools posted on Facebook Saturday morning.

Roane County High School opened its doors Saturday to students and community members who wished to speak with counselors or merely grieve together.

“There are no words to explain what happened, or why it happened,” said Roane County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Richard Duncan.

“I think that is why everyone is struggling right now. One minute we are getting ready for the second quarter and the next minute we are shocked,” he added.

The school opened its doors at noon Saturday for students and community members who would like to speak with counselors. Roane County High School administration and counselors have received offers of support and assistance from colleagues across the region. Dozens of students, teammates, and neighbors stopped by the school to offer support and grieve together.

Alex Miller’s friends describe him as “the best.”

“He was a good Christian kid, always doing something for someone else. He went to Church every Sunday,” said Layne Epling.

“He was my best friend,” added Epling. “The closest thing I had to a big brother.”

Friday’s game was suspended and supposed to resume Saturday evening, as of Saturday morning the game was suspended indefinitely. Saturday night a candle light vigil was held to honor Miller.

Miller’s death has been felt across the Mountain State and even across the country. Hundreds of condolences have been offered by other area high school football programs and programs from other states as well.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice issued this statement: “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. ”

Senator Joe Manchin also offering condolences saying, “Gayle and I are deeply saddened to hear of the tragic passing of Alex Miller last night. It is difficult to hear of someone so young and talented leaving us too soon.”

A candlelight vigil was held Saturday night to allow the community to express its grief for Miller’s loss and support for his family and friends.

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