A routine ACL surgery has claimed the life of an 18-year-old football player from South Carolina who had a promising future in college football.
Spartanburg High School athlete Nick Dixon succumbed to complications during surgery to repair his ACL and Meniscus.
Dixon was a promising football player who had just accepted his scholarship at Wingate University the day before his death.
Dixon played as a linebacker, running back, and defensive line for the Vikings and just recently took part in the “Shrine Bowl” which sees outstanding high school football players in the Carolinas competing with one another.
Dixon died at Spartanburg Medical Center at around 3 pm on Friday. His unexpected death has left his family devastated.
School officials have also expressed their sadness with Dixon scheduled to graduate in May. Spartanburg School District Superintendent Russell Booker had this to say:
“Nick was a wonderful student, wonderful athlete. Nick was part of our Viking early college program early during his high school career, which means he was already earning some college credits.”
“I'm broken-hearted that I'm not going to shake his hand in May and give him that diploma. As we have two thousand students coming to school on Monday they're going to be heartbroken.”
Dixon was described by a family friend as a person with “a very bright personality” and a “really, really big heart.”
His social media presence would often see him encouraging others with words of wisdom. In November he wrote, “God always has a plan.” His last post before his death was ironically in the lines of “not done yet.”
Dixon’s school principal, Jeff Stevens also had only good things to say about him.
“He was a great student. He was an awesome athlete and very much a competitor. But more than that, he could walk into any room that you were in and have a conversation with everybody… He would light up a room.”
His teammates who remember him as a friendly competitor will always hang on to the memory of him beginning each training day with the line “Who’s going on their butt first?”
“We argued, but it was out of brotherly love,” childhood friend and teammate Tyshun Moultrie said.
With the help of a GoFundMe page, $17,000 was raised in three days for Dixon’s funeral and burial expenses. Dixon will also be honored by Wingate on National Signing Day.
Meanwhile, just days after Dixon's death, Spartanburg suffered another loss. Its athletic trainer and coach Bryant Rose also died from surgery.
Rose suddenly died while at the hospital following an operation. No foul play was reported. His school mourns his death while still mourning Dixon's.