Northwest athlete dies days after collapsing
School community faces second death in one week
The family of Edwin "Dek" Miller, 16, who died Monday, said that the Northwest High School football player showed signs of dehydration after he collapsed at practice Thursday.
Miller, a rising junior at the Germantown school, was surrounded by family when he died at 2:30 p.m. Monday at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., said his uncle, Alston Nah. An autopsy was performed Tuesday, Nah said.
"All we know is there were signs of dehydration," he said.
Miller collapsed during an offseason conditioning session at the school Thursday evening. Coaches performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him and called for an ambulance, said Acting Principal Jacqueline Orrence. Miller was rushed to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital but "took a turn for the worse" Friday and was taken to Children's National Medical Center, Orrence said.
The school's athletic director, Jim Tapley, referred questions to Orrence. Athletics staff, Orrence said, are grieving with and focused on the team. Football practice and conditioning are suspended, she said.
Administrators and athletics staff met Monday with 100 students, mostly football players, Orrence said.
"The kids were really in shock last night," she said. "It was a very emotional meeting." Several players spoke about their teammate "very eloquently." She talked about "banding together" and supporting each other like a family.
Counselors are available for students, coaches and staff, Orrence said. A vigil is being planned, she said.
"Dek", short for Dekonti, which means "there is a time for everything" in Liberia, was "very excited" about the football season, when he was expected to play varsity, Nah said. Miller just "couldn't wait for his mom to take him to practice or anything related to football so he caught the bus," Nah said.
His nephew's death has stunned many people and left others searching for how to feel, Nah said. Miller was an only child and lived with his mother, Nahdi Nah, Alston Nah said. Miller wanted to play college football, Nah said, but the family "always stressed the importance of getting a college degree first." Nah said the family has not confirmed funeral arrangements yet.
"I'm hurt, I'm sad, I'm depressed and frustrated," Nah said. "Mostly, I'm just confused."
Grady Garrett, 17, a recent graduate of Northwest High and a member of the 2008 Jaguars football team said Tuesday that Miller was "a good person." Garrett said Miller was one of the freshmen he noticed in the weight room when he was a junior.
"Everybody is shocked," Garrett said. "No one expected this to happen."
Orrence called Miller "a promising athlete" who coaches expected to take a leadership role on the team. "He was a great kid, quiet," said Orrence, who was an assistant principal at the school last year.
Beth Kennington, corresponding secretary for the PTSA, said "this has been a tough time for the Northwest community," as they deal with a second heartbreak in a week.
Hassan Dixon, 16, of Boyds, also a member of the Jaguars football team, was injured in a crash in Virginia on June 29 that killed his sister, Shiane Dixon, 12, a student at Rocky Hill Middle School in Clarksburg. Also injured were family friends Jordan Lusane, 18, of Boyds, who also played for the Jaguars, and Taylor Scott, 12, of Damascus.
Shiane was killed in the crash. Her mother, Diane Dixon was released from a hospital Thursday.
"Dek's passing is a blow," Kennington said. "It's a blow to the football team and the Northwest community."