Western Carolina player dies following workout
CULLOWHEE ó Ja’Quayvin Smalls, a junior defensive back at Western Carolina, has died after participating in a voluntary offseason workout.
Western Carolina spokesman Daniel Hooker says Smalls, who is from Mount Pleasant, S.C., collapsed Wednesday and was pronounced dead about 7:30 p.m. at Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva.
The school says he collapsed while running during an evening workout session. Observers said Smalls had complained of cramps at the beginning of sprint exercises and had been removed from the lineup to stretch.
The workout was the first for Smalls, who enrolled in Western Carolina’s summer school. He had transferred from Georgia Military College, where he ranked second on the team in tackles.
“Any loss of life is a tragedy, but it is especially tragic when someone is taken from us at such a young age,” said Chip Smith, WCU’s director of athletics. “Our hearts and prayers are with the family and friends of Ja’Quayvin, and with his coaches and teammates.”
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