By Seria Dassing, [email protected]
Hawkins Police Chief Ron Voda confirmed 15-year-old Jacob Gatlin, a Hawkins ISD student, died at Dallas Children’s Hospital Thursday morning from an injury received during an athletics program.
Voda said Gatlin was playing flag football Tuesday when he and another player both jumped up for a pass and bumped heads. School officials made Gatlin sit out. They observed him for a period of time. Voda said Gatlin wanted to keep playing, but was not allowed to do so. Later in the day, he went to the nurse with a bad headache and she sent him home. After going home, Gatlin’s condition worsened and an ambulance was called. He was taken to the hospital and then flown by helicopter to Dallas Children’s Hospital.
Gatlin died Thursday morning from a fractured skull and subdural hematoma, according to the Dallas County Medical Examiner. His family said he had a concussion, swelling in the brain, and a ruptured artery that caused the bleed out.
The other boy was injured, but his injury is not thought to be serious. Hawkins ISD adopted a formal head-injury protocol earlier this year, and Superintendent Dan Rose said all protocols were followed. Rose also said everyone involved with the athletic program knows the steps to follow and the protocol for injuries. The athletics class was mainly a passing drill, also called 7 on 7.
Superintendent Dan Rose issued a statement this morning regarding the death of Jacob Gatlin:
“Hawkins Schools are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our high school students yesterday. We were notified by the family Thursday morning that Jacob Gatlin, a 15 year old freshman student, had died from injuries he sustained while playing flag football in his athletics class.
Jacob was a hard working student and dedicated young man, who enjoyed his school friends, was an active member of the local Boy Scout troop, had become a member of our athletic program at the high school, and was playing summer baseball.
Our entire faculty and student body join his family in mourning the loss of this bright and energetic young man.
Currently, we are in the process of meeting the needs of family, faculty and our students, all of whom are deeply saddened and dealing with the loss of this fine young man. During the last few days, we have had counselors and clergy available for students and staff to help them cope with this tragic and difficult situation. We appreciate the concern and respect that the media has shown to the student’s family and to our school as we have worked to meet the needs of those we serve.”
Superintendent Rose said he really appreciates the youth ministers from area churches that have been on campus during lunch periods to help the students. Spaces have been designated for counseling in the library, and counselors and principals have been in the halls to talk to students or staff.
“The kids are making a memory book. They are writing poems, and expressing their feelings,” added Rose. “His death is very difficult for everyone to deal with-not just the students, but the teachers, principals, coaches, and everyone.”
Update: Hawkins Police Chief Ron Voda said the Medical Examiner ruled Gatilin’s death an accident.
Donations can be made at any Bank Texas location. The family hopes to set up a scholarship fund in Jacob’s memory. Visitation will be Tuesday, May 22, 2012, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Beaty Funeral Home in Hawkins.
The obit and funeral arrangements are listed on line and in print this week in a separate section. A tribute to Jacob from his scoutmaster is also posted online with a picture and will be in our printed issue this week.