High school football player dies following morning practice, officials say not 'heat-related'

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The death of 16-year-old high school football player Tekarian Maclin has rocked a Tennessee community.

Maclin died Wednesday afternoon following morning football practice.  The Jackson Sun’s Brandon Shields reports the heat index was at 109 degrees around 11 am that morning.

In a text sent to Shields, Maclin’s football coach Steve Hookfin indicated the boy’s death was “not heat-related.” He declined to comment further.

Maclin reportedly complained of “shortness of breath,” an ambulance was called to the Haywood High School field house.

The paramedics eventually cleared Maclin and his mother took him home.

An hour later, Maclin’s mother called 911 because apparently the breathing problems continued. He was later airlifted to a local hospital where was pronounced dead.

Maclin was referred to as a “gentle giant” by a former football coach.

His teammates referred to Maclin as “T-Mac,” according to a WMC-TV report.

Last September, 16-year-old Miles Kirkland-Thomas died after collapsing football practice. Miles’ death led to questions if heat was a factor, but a medical examiner later ruled he died of a heart condition.

In 2013, 16-year-old Evan Raines died following football practice.  Raines was later found to have had an irregular heartbeat.