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Family, Friends Mourn Death of Atlanta High School Football Player

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DeAntre Turman, a standout football player at Creekside High in Atlanta, died Friday after he broke his neck making a tackle during a scrimmage. He was remembered Sunday in a moving tribute attended by thousands.

The loss of the 16-year-old’s life remained a shock two days later to family, friends and supporters gathered at a recreation center stadium, as they paid homage to a life abruptly ended by what was described as  a routine play.

“He was dedicated to what he was doing,” Joshua Poole, a friend and teammate told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He kept his head in the books, focused at all times, determined, very ambitious. I knew ‘Tre Tre’ since I was 3 years old. He’s my brother from another mother.”

Turman, 5-foot-11, 164 pounds, was considered a prime college prospect as a receiver and cornerback. Reports indicate he had already received a scholarship offer from the University of Kentucky.

The  autopsy indicated that Turman died from a broken neck. His third cervical vertebrae was fractured, according the Fulton County medical examiner’s office—making the tragedy even more shocking.

“He tackled the guy. It was just a hard hit – regular hit that he’s made 1,000 times,”  DeAntre’s uncle, Kenneth Turman, told CBS Atlanta.

The youngster did not get up after making the play, experienced difficulty breathing and was rushed to the hospital by ambulance. When family arrived, they were told the budding young star and embraceable young man was gone.

“The special ones, you can tell it, but you don’t have to tell them they’re good. He was one of those, he knew he was good,” said Kenneth Turman to CBS Atlanta.

DeAntre Turman’s mother died when he was only four years old. When he was in the fifth grade, Tarsha Keller became his legal guardian at the request of his father after a cousin was killed near the family home.

“It’s a wonderful blessing to know that he has touched so many lives,” Keller said at the packed remembrance. “He was a blessing to all of us.”

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