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Autopsy of football player completed, says mother, but no answers yet
SoVaNow.com / October 20, 2014The mother of Jamond Salley, the Park View football player who died Friday night after suffering a suspected head injury late in the first half of the Dragons' game with Brunswick County, says the family is awaiting answers on what happened on and off the field in the moments prior to the youth's death.
Ernestine Parrish, Jamond's mother, said Sunday that she has been informed that the state medical examiner has completed an autopsy of her son. However, she has not been notified of a cause of death. When contacted Monday afternoon, Mecklenburg County Sheriff Bobby Hawkins said he, too was awaiting the report from the state medical examiner, and had no indication as to when it would be released.
“We don’t know what happened right now,” Parrish said. “We just have to wait and see."
Accounts from spectators, reported by several media outlets, point to the possibility of head-on-head contact on a kick return late in the first half of the game as the play that sent Salley to the sidelines. He complained of having a headache before losing consciousness and suffering seizures during half-time.
Brunswick County Sheriff Brian Roberts, whose staff provided, crowd and traffic control after the incident, said Salley walked with his teammates to the Brunswick High School baseball field at halftime. It is standard practice for visiting teams to spend halftime in that location. It was then that Salley's condition "deteriorated rapidly," and Salley was moved to the front of the high school, which is a staging area for medical evacuations.
Roberts' said his staff summoned both the rescue squad and the med-flight helicopter to rush Salley to a Richmond hospital, but Roberts added that when the EMS personnel were unable to stabilize Salley, they transported him by ambulance to VCU Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill, some 18 miles from the Lawrenceville high school.
There was no rescue squad unit stationed at the stadium when the game got under way.
Salley was pronounced dead at CMH.
Parrish did not go to the game, although she attends all of the Dragons' home contests in South Hill. She said she was on her way back from the North Carolina State Fair when she received word that her son had been injured.
“Someone at the game knew Jamond’s dad (Chris Salley) and called him to say Jamond had been hurt,” Parrish said. “He called to tell me.”
A subsequent call by Parrish to the Brunswick County Sheriff's Department confirmed that her son had been injured and was on the way to the hospital.
Parrish arrived at CMH and said she immediately knew the situation was grave.
“When we first drove up it was police everywhere and I was immediately like, what are all these police doing here,” said Parrish “There were police, Park View students and adults everywhere. “I’ve been told there were at least 200-250 people there. Players and students from Brunswick came, too.
“I could see my sister (Theila Parrish) and just the look on her face … I just looked at her and said, 'tell me, just tell me.'”
Parrish said hospital personnel took her and family members inside, where the doctor who had treated Jamond informed them of his death.
“The doctor just said that Jamond had passed and that hey had done everything they could possibly do to save him, but he had passed.”
Parrish said she was asked if she wanted to go out to speak to the crowd that had gathered in support of Jamond and the family. Parrish said she wanted to, but at the time just didn’t have the strength.
“I wanted to, but I just couldn’t,” Parrish said. “I felt as though I was going to faint. But I know everybody was there to support us and each other and I do want to thank them.”
Giles-Harris Funeral Home in Chase City is handling Jamond’s funeral arrangements. Details will be announced soon.
Parrish said Jamond loved to play football and loved being part of the Park View Dragons.
He loved to play [football],” Parrish said. “He had been playing every since he was small. He didn’t play in the sixth grade, but played in the seventh and eighth grades in middle school before playing in high school.
“He played with the [YMCA] Mites before middle school — my brother Willie Parrish coached and that’s where he really got his start, with his uncle. He loved the game.”
Parrish also said the support that she and the family have received from near and far has been comforting.
“I want to thank everyone for all their support. It’s hard to believe about all the people who are hearing about Jamond, and I just want to say thank you,” she said.
“I’ve had people from all over friending me (on Facebook) to say how much they care. The outpouring from the local community means so much.”
In the immediate aftermath of her son's death, Parrish said she is taking each day – each second – one at a time. She acknowledged that the uncertainty surrounding her son’s death has taken a toll.
“The not knowing what really happened; it’s just weighing on me – and I need to know.”
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