De'Antre Turman ABC News
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'Routine tackle' kills future University of Kentucky football player

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UNION CITY, Ga. -- A 16-year-old high school football star on his way to the University of Kentucky with a full scholarship died this past Friday after "a routine tackle."

ABC News reports De'Antre Turman, of Creekside High School in Union City, Ga., was playing a scrimmage game when he tackled another player and then went limp.

When paramedics responded to the field, Turman wasn't breathing, according to Yahoo Sports.

"Time was just fading," Turman's former coach Glenn Ford told ABC News. Ford was on the sidelines during the game. "It was just fading away to the point where we were just waiting and it just took a while for somebody to get there."

Bystanders told reporters it took 15 minutes for an ambulance to arrive to the scene.

Turman -- who received a scholarship offer from Kentucky in June -- was a 5-foot-11, 164-pound defensive back who was named the Top Defensive Back at MVP Camp.

It was later determined that he suffered a broken neck and a fracture of his third cervical vertebrae. He was pronounced dead at Grady Memorial Hospital.

So what went wrong?

Dr. Daniel Sciubba, an assistant professor of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University, told ABC News that when football players run with enough speed, they can become severely injured during a tackle.

Sciubba compared the force of these tackles to "hitting a brick wall."

"It can be a very freak accident," Sciubba said. "It's just the fact that people are hitting each other as hard as they can and [the neck] area is not immobilized."

Sciubba added that even if players are wearing the right protective gear, they can still be gravely injured.

Some experts say today's players are stronger and faster than ever before, causing hits and tackles to be more violent.

According to ESPN statistics, from 1979 to 2011, the typical top-five offensive tackle enlarged from an average of 6-foot-4, 264 pounds to 6-foot-6, 314 pounds.

But from 1979 to 2011, NFL-bound centers grew from an average 6-foot-3, 242 pounds to 6-foot-4, 304 pounds.

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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