Alabama high school basketball standout dies following medical emergency


(PINSON, Ala.) — A star Alabama high school basketball player died after suffering a medical emergency at his school, officials said.

Caleb White, a senior at Pinson Valley High School, was pronounced dead after being transported to the hospital Thursday, officials said.

The medical event occurred around 1:12 p.m. local time and the 17-year-old was pronounced dead a little over an hour later, according to the Jefferson County Coroner/Medical Examiner’s Office. A postmortem examination will be performed on Friday to help determine the cause and manner of death, the office said.

Pinson Valley High School Principal Michael Turner notified families of the incident in a letter Thursday night. Lifesaving efforts were “immediately started” and first responders were called to the school, he said.

“Please know counseling resources will be available for anyone who needs them in the coming days,” Turner said in the letter. “Please keep the student’s family and our school in your prayers.”

Pinson Valley High School is located in Pinson, a suburb of Birmingham.

Pinson Mayor Joe Cochran said he was “heartbroken” by the student’s death.

“I was honored to know Caleb personally and loved the spirit he carried,” Cochran said in a social media post. “Life is fleeting, enjoy every day as the treasure it is, I know Caleb did.”

White, a point guard, was ranked as the No. 3 player in the state and No. 43 in the country at his position by ESPN. He had not yet declared what college he would attend.

Friends remembered the standout athlete for his talent and good nature.

“He was a phenomenal player,” Richele Crawford, a fellow Pinson Valley High School senior, told Birmingham ABC affiliate WBMA. “It was mesmerizing to watch him. He was fun to watch all the time.”

White was always smiling and laughing, Crawford told the station.

“He was one of the kids more on the goofy side,” she said. “I’ll forever remember him on and off the court smiling.”

Childhood friend Arnold Thomas expressed shock at the news.

“Today was just heartbreaking. I can’t even put words together for it,” he told WBMA on Thursday.

Thomas said his favorite memory of White was his first time playing against him.

“I am gonna be honest, his team was stacked. Caleb put 20 points on my head,” Thomas told WBMA. “I lived with it. He was a great kid.”

Area basketball programs paid tribute to White following news of his death.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Caleb White, his family, and the @PinsonValley Community,” the Mountain Brook High School basketball team in Birmingham said on social media. “Phenomenal player but more importantly a great person that’s gone [too] soon.”

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