Player’s death teaches team to cherish every moment

17-year-old found unresponsive during practice, dies at hospital

July 02, 2010 at 9:33 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The death of Hahnville High School basketball player De’Vante Alexander sent shockwaves throughout the community and left his former teammates stunned by how quickly a life can be taken away.

Now, the squad has vowed to cherish every moment in life and live it the right way, just as their former teammate did, according to Hahnville head coach Brian Lumar.

Alexander, 17, was taking a break during a summer practice on June 24 by lying on his stomach and would not respond to teammates when the break was over. Assistant coach Jose Gonzales checked on Alexander and noticed he had a weak pulse. He began to administer CPR while someone dialed 911, according to Rochelle Cancienne-Touchard, spokeswoman for the school district.

Alexander passed away at St. Charles Parish Hospital later that night. It was reported that he had a congenital heart defect.

Lumar was out of town on the night of Alexander’s death, but cut his vacation short and flew back home on Friday. He met with the team at 2 p.m. that day and said that the entire squad was being “strong.”

“We are a really close-knit group,” he said. “These guys are extremely supportive of one another and the team has committed themselves to honor De’Vante’s memory by cherishing every single moment in life, living it the right way and working hard at everything.

“De’Vante wouldn’t want it any other way”

Lumar has fond memories of Alexander, who he called an extremely hard worker with a wonderful attitude.

“He was a phenomenal kid,” he said. “Sometimes I ask myself ‘why do I coach these kids?’ and then I think of kids like De’Vante and I have my answer,” he said. “Kids like him make me excited to wake up every morning and come to work.”

In fact, the last conversation Lumar had with Alexander only served to illustrate just how hard a worker the 17-year-old was.

“Last Tuesday, he came up to me after practice and said ‘coach, I know I didn’t have a great practice, but I guarantee I will work hard and I appreciate you allowing me to be a part of the team,’” Lumar said. “But I didn’t allow him to be a part of the team, De’Vante earned it. You always want a guy with that magnetic type of personality on your team.”

Cancienne-Touchard said she has heard that Alexander was a fun-loving, joking kid who was very popular. She said that the fact that more than 100 people visited the hospital on June 24 showed just how loved he was.

“It’s just such a sad situation,” she said. “His school health records showed no prior  problems on any physicals. It’s so scary that he had this problem and there was really no way to find out unless he had an EKG.”

Services have been scheduled for Thursday, July 1, at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Boutte at 11 a.m.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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