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Pinson Valley High School Basketball Star Caleb White Dies At 17 After Collapsing During Workout

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Pinson Valley High School Basketball Star Caleb White Dies At 17 After Collapsing During Workout (5)

On Thursday afternoon, Pinson Valley High School senior Caleb White, the No. 3 high school basketball player in Alabama, collapsed on the hardwood floor during a workout.

White became ill around 1:15 p.m. while practicing with his teammates, according to his grandfather, George Varnadoe Jr.

Life-saving efforts were performed on the 17-year-old at the school. However, White had required further medical attention from EMS personnel.

The young hooper was transported in an ambulance to Ascension St. Vincent’s East Hospital emergency room, where he was pronounced dead at 2:23 p.m.

White had suffered cardiac arrest. Jefferson County Coroner is scheduled to perform an autopsy.

“At 17, he was dead!!!! Caleb was an honor student, very respectful, high intellect, excellent role model, phenomenal basketball player, ranked 25th best point guard in his class in the nation and No. 2 in the state of Alabama,” Varnadoe wrote in a private post on Facebook.

“Our whole family was really looking forward to his upcoming senior season and afterwards, playing for a D-1 school and then perhaps the NBA. But… wasn’t meant to be.

“You see, everything that happens, happens on time, because God wouldn’t allow it to happen, if it wasn’t on time. And so it was with Caleb. We all have an appointment with God, one that you can’t reschedule. RIP Caleb. I love you man.”

Pinson Valley High School basketball star Caleb White, the No. 3 high school basketball player in Alabama, has died at age 17 after collapsing during a workout

White received a first-team all-state nod for his Pinson Valley team and was one of three finalists for Class 6A Player of the Year as a junior, per the Alabama High School Athletic Association.

According to ESPN rankings, White was the No. 3 player in Alabama and No. 43 in the country. Heading into his 2023-24 senior season, the point guard would have served as the Indians’ captain.

Michael Turner, Pinson Valley High School Principal, sent a note to parents and guardians that read:

“I unfortunately have some very sad news to report tonight. One of our senior students suffered a medical emergency at school today. Life saving efforts were immediately started and first responders were called. Sadly, the student was later pronounced deceased after being transported to the hospital. Out of respect for the family, we are not releasing the name of the student at this time.

“We will have more to say in the near future. Please know counseling resources will be available for anyone who needs them in the coming days. Please keep the student’s family and our school in your prayers.

“Michael Turner, Pinson Valley High School Principal”


Pinson Valley basketball coach Darrell Barber could not be reached for comment.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Caleb’s family, his classmates and basketball team and extended school family,” AHSAA executive director Alvin Briggs said in a release. “He was an outstanding student-athlete and role model.”

“Our heartfelt condolences also go out to the administration and faculty at Pinson Valley, and we pray they find the strength needed during this time of grief,” Briggs said.

Jefferson County Superintendent Dr. Walter Gonsoulin is also grieving. “It’s hard to lose any one of our members, whether it’s faculty, staff, or students, but it hits a little differently when it comes to one of our students, especially a senior in his senior year with his whole life ahead of him,” he said.

Other young athletes to collapse during sports activities

White is the latest teenage athlete to collapse and die during a sports-related activity.

Max Sorenson, 17, a basketball player on the Thunder Basin High School basketball team, suffered a medical emergency at his Gillette, Wyoming, home on Dec. 26. Shortly after, he was transported to Campbell County Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

In February, Elijah Jordan Brown-Garcia, a sixth-grade student at KIPP Rise Academy, collapsed and died during a no-contact football practice. For a reminder, the medical history of these deceased athletes is unknown.

In July, Long Island High School football player Robert Bush went into cardiac arrest about four minutes after taking the field for summer workout drills.

Then there’s Bronny James, LeBron’s 18-year-old, who suffered cardiac arrest last month during a basketball practice at USC’s Galen Center. Fortunately, Bronny made a full recover in the ICU.

Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla CEO, suggested the possibility that Bronny suffered a cardiac arrest during a basketball workout due to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Musk, 52, posted this message to X, formerly known as Twitter: “We cannot ascribe everything to the vaccine, but, by the same token, we cannot ascribe nothing. Myocarditis is a known side-effect. The only question is whether it is rare or common.”

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