Pearland high school student collapses while playing basketball, dies

February 28, 2013 3:31:51 AM PST
Authorities in Pearland are trying to figure out what caused the death of a teenager who collapsed Wednesday afternoon while playing basketball at an elementary school campus.

The 17-year-old collapsed while playing basketball with friends at an elementary school.

We've learned he had a bright future ahead of him. Both Montana State University as well as local officials confirm that the teen who died is Folabi Akanbi, a senior at Dawson High School. He was playing basketball at the time, but he was a standout on the football field.

Last fall, lineman Akanbi was being highly recruited. Number 79 for Pearland's Dawson High School, a scouting report listed him as tall with long arms.

On Wednesday, basketball was his sport of choice. There was a pickup game at Silverlake Elementary School and the seemingly healthy 17-year-old just collapsed.

"He wasn't even taking deep breaths, he was just walking. He was going to the other side of the court and something went wrong," 16-year-old Devin Gelovani said.

Gelovani and his friend, Gabriel Uribe, were playing with Akanbi at the time. They say two other teens gave him CPR while they waited for an ambulance. Akanbi died at the hospital.

"Just sad, depressed and shocked. It's just crazy. It just happened," Uribe said.

Akanbi had committed to Montana State. listed him as a Top 10 recruit. On Wednesday night, head football coach Rob Ash offered his condolences writing:

"Our hearts go out to Folabi's family and friends, and his teammates and coaches. He was a wonderful young man who captivated everyone he met, and had such an incredibly bright future. This tragedy leaves us without words to properly express our sorrow."

Gelovani thought everything was going to be all right.

"I mean I didn't know what to expect and the worst came out of it," Gelovani said.

We don't yet know why Akanbi died and we don't know if he had any pre-existing conditions.

Grief counselors will be on hand at Dawson High School for as long as students need them.

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