Published: Aug 17, 2008 09:01 AM
Modified: Aug 17, 2008 09:01 AM
Atlas Fraley knew something was badly wrong with him; all football players are accustomed to aches and pains, but after he got home from Tuesday morning's Chapel Hill High School scrimmage he felt so bad he called 911.
His whole body hurt, he told the dispatcher in a tired voice. He thought he was dehydrated, he said, and needed an IV. At one point he asked plaintively whether anyone was on the way.
They were; an Orange County EMS crew arrived shortly after his call. Whether or how they treated him, we don't know. We do know they were with him for about 20 minutes and then left him at home, presumably in a condition they determined was stable and not dangerous.
But when his parents arrived home from work, they discovered their son lying on the living room floor, unresponsive. Their frantic efforts to revive him, and another desperate call to 911, were too late.
Fraley's death has broken hearts throughout the community. His family faces an anguish no family should ever have to bear. His friends, his fellow students, his teammates and coaches, are stricken with grief, and we in the wider community find ourselves once again mourning the passing of one far taken too young.
What happened to Atlas Fraley that afternoon? He told the 911 dispatcher he thought he was dehydrated, and he had some experience with the symptoms of dehydration; after he collapsed following a practice last year he adopted a regimen of drinking several bottles of fluids before each practice. On Tuesday, because the scrimmage was early in the morning, he didn't have a chance to drink his usual fluids beforehand.
Until the medical examiner's report is released, though, we won't know for sure.
The other mystery, of course, is exactly what transpired while the EMS crew was with him. For that, too, we will have to wait; the county is investigating its response and, as of Friday afternoon, hadn't issued a report.
It's pointless to speculate until we have more answers. But Barry Jacobs, chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners, was exactly right when he said that Atlas' family, and the community at large, deserves those answers in full.
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published, broadcast or redistributed in any manner.