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Millington Football Player Dies From Injury at Practice

[/media-credMiit] Dana Payne, seen here on Millington Media Day, was to wear the No. 87 this season.

The Millington Central High School community was rocked last night with the news of Dana Payne passing after losing consciousness following a hit during football practice.

Payne, 15, died en route to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Downtown Memphis. According to witnesses at the Millington Trojan Football practice, Payne was hit and went unconscious to be revived before being placed on the ambulance.

By the end of the night Shelby County Schools Superintendent John Aitken addressed the media on behalf of MCHS, family and friends of Payne.

“It’s been a tragic end of day,” he said.  “It’s really tragic for the family, the school and the coaches. It’s some heartbroken folks in there struggling to cope with this. I talked to his Mom and she asked that I send a message and thank you for spreading the good news of about what a good kid he is, and respecting the wishes of the family. They’ve got a tough next few days ahead of them.”

Payne was a sophomore and was listed as a wide receiver and defensive back for the Trojans. Several of his teammates and classmates were at the hospital to comfort the family members and talk about Dana the person.

“He kept everybody laughing,” MCHS student Aliyah Threlkeld said. “He kept everybody happy. He kept everybody’s day going. He was a very outgoing person. He just made everybody smile.”

Threlkeld said he died doing what he loved. Atkins said the “heartbreaking” situation will be a process for all those involved. Grief counselors and other personnel were on the scene at MCHS Wednesday morning helping students and faculty trying to cope.

Before 9 a.m., several students had to make trips to ambulances on the premises who were grief-stricken.

“This is my 33rd year in the business,” Atkins said last night. “And you never get used to this. I saw a lot of heartbroken kids, players that were in there with him, friends, family, coaches and the principal.”

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