BY ROBIN FAMBROUGH
and DARLENE DENSTORFF
Advocate staff writers
July 20, 2012
DUTCHTOWN — A student died Thursday afternoon after collapsing at Dutchtown High while shooting basketball at the school gym, school officials said.
James Cobb, an incoming freshman, had just finished football conditioning workouts and was shooting basketball with a group of players in the school gymnasium while waiting to be picked up by a parent, Dutchtown High football coach and athletic director Benny Saia said.
“It’s just a tragedy,” Saia said. “As a football coach you go through your career hoping something like this doesn’t happen. Our coaches are just devastated. There really are no words to describe something like this.”
Saia said he was in Baton Rouge for the final day of the Louisiana High School Coaches Association’s annual Coaches Clinic when he got a call from the school about the student.
By the time he arrived at the school, Saia said, the student had already been airlifted to the hospital, but a group of first responders was still on site.
“My understanding is that the workout was over,” Saia said.
“They (the students) lifted weights and did some conditioning (running) outside. They came back in the gym and he called his parents to come get him. …
“One of our coaches was talking to him right before he collapsed. You can’t even make sense of something like this.”
Johnnie Balfantz Jr., Ascension Parish school system spokesman, said emergency responders were called sometime before 1 p.m.
The student was brought to a Baton Rouge hospital by a helicopter and later pronounced dead, Balfantz said.
“I think they did everything they could to save him,” Balfantz said.
He said the parents were notified.
The teen would have been a freshman at the school when classes began on Aug. 8, Balfantz said, and had already been named to the football team.