High school football player tragically dies during ACL surgery
A star high school football player has unexpectedly died, the day after he committed to play in college, after undergoing routine knee surgery.
Nick Dixon, a senior at Spartanburg High School in South Carolina, had an operation to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a torn meniscus in his knee on Friday.
The 18-year-old athlete, known to friends as "Big Nick", tragically passed away after a complication during surgery.
Dixon had a bright future ahead, having committed to playing collegiately for Wingate University in North Carolina on a four-year scholarship on Thursday.
In a GoFundMe campaign designed to raise money for his funeral and burial expenses, Dixon was described as a young man who was "loved by his family and friends and was always the life of the party".
His best friend, Tyshun Moultrie claimed he was a "blessing", stating: "Nick loved everybody, there was never a day that he didn't. You never heard anything out of his mouth saying 'I hate you', it was always 'I love you and I'll be there and I got your back'. Nick so badly wanted to make his mom proud. Nick wanted to make it in life, so he could take care of his mother and give her the finer things in life."
In addition, he was said by the Spartanburg School District 7 to be a "talented and highly respected student-athlete" who was "everyone's best friend".
"He excelled on the turf and off, contributing to the team and to his community," they wrote on Facebook. "He was selected for and played in the SC/NC Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas in 2018, and had several offers to play at the collegiate level... "
The post continued: "Anyone who knows Nick describes him as everyone’s best friend. A talented and highly respected student-athlete. As D7 grieves this unthinkable loss, we ask Nick and his family be remembered in prayer."
Coach Chris Miller paid tribute in the same post, stating that Nick was a "great person, great teammate and a great player...and will always be remembered."
On Monday, classmates and peers from other schools gathered in the Spartanburg High School auditorium to pay tribute to the 18-year-old, who manned a number of positions during his time playing, including linebacker, defensive lineman, and running back.
Family friend Primes Woodruff spoke about the teenager's "big heart", saying: "He had a very bright personality. Had a really, really big heart. He took to this community so strongly - not just as an athlete but the pride he found in this community. It's always a shock to people when someone so young and so vibrant loses their life."
Spartanburg County Coroner said an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.