Alto football player died from aneurysm

Source: Laurie Gould
Source: Laurie Gould

ALTO, TX (KTRE) - Students return to school Monday after the loss of a classmate Saturday night.

Cam'ron Matthews died after collapsing on the field Friday night died from an aneurysm, according to the school district's superintendent.

Superintendent Kerry Birdwell said he received the word from the school's athletic director, who was with the Matthews' family when they learned the cause from the doctor. He said the doctor said the aneurysm "may not be" football-related.

"We've been going around giving each other hugs and telling each other things are going to be okay," Isaiah Jaddis Mathews Cousin said. "God is in control."

Things are a little different as students step back on campus for the first time since Mathews' death.

"When we started school this morning it was what you would expect; there were a lot of kids that were visibly shaken," Birdwell said. "You never heard the halls that quiet, ever."

"They're devastated, everybody is devastated," Courtney Marshall, an Alto High School Counselor said. "It's a really sad environment. It's terrible that everybody has to go through this."

Many describe Matthews as respectful, a good friend and kind to others. People who knew him best said he left his heart on the field and always motivated those around him.

"He was a good cousin; he pushed me to do stuff in football," Jaddis said.

This is why many on this Alto campus are going to miss him, but said the support of the community is helping them get through it.

"A lot of people have been crying, missing him," Christopher Jackson, an Alto football player said. "They're telling us he's in a better place and God took him for a reason."

"They knew Cam, he was a good guy and they know that he would not want them to be this upset," Marshall said. "They can't help but cry and feel that loss."

Faculty and staff are reassuring students that their number one concern is their well-being.

"We provided space for them to have group sessions if need be, or individual one on one sessions. We've brought in pastors from the community, so if students needed to talk to them they'll be available as well," Marshall said.

"The main thing is for the kids to have a chance to go in there and start the grieving process and start venting a little bit," Birdwell said.

Staff members who knew Matthews said the volunteer counselors are helping them get through this loss, as well.

"I've tried to stay strong for the kids. I think having counselors here from different school districts that can stay stronger then me really helps," Marshall said. "We are all strong together."

Birdwell said funeral services are pending.

"We're going to talk to the parents again probably tomorrow morning and get the word out when we know," Birdwell said.

The 16-year-old collapsed on the Alto football field in a game against Carlisle Friday night. He was flown from the field to a Tyler hospital. He died on Saturday.

Birdwell said for now, this Friday's road game against Cayuga will be played as planned.

Last Friday's game against Carlisle was postponed once Matthews collapsed. Birdwell said he is "quite positive" that game will not be finished, but a district executive committee will make a determination on the game.

"I do want to say that our coach cannot say enough good things about Carlisle's coach and how he's been through this whole thing," Birdwell said. "Everyone wants to win, but he's been outstanding for us right now."

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