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Junior High Football Coach Dies After Collapsing on Field Just Before Game

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A junior high school football coach in southeastern Texas died Friday just before a high school football game he was going to video.

Kingsville Gillette Middle School football coach Marco Contreras collapsed on the field, according to KRIS-TV in Corpus Christi. He was taken to a hospital but died there.

Contreras, 48, had been a coach and teacher in the Kingsville Independent School District for the past four years, according to the Corpus Christ Caller-Times.

He coached junior high school football, soccer, cross-country track and basketball while teaching at Community School, an alternative school, according to the newspaper. On Fridays, he video-recorded the high school games from the end zone.

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The game was going to be played between Kingsville’s high school, H.M. King, and Tuloso-Midway.

Tuloso-Midway head coach Kris O’Neal said he and others tried to save Contreras, including using an automated external defibrillator, according to KIII-TV in Corpus Christi.

“My athletic trainer, I saw him move quickly to the area. That caught my eye, obviously, and immediately. I was really proud of all of our staff. We started moving kids, AEDs, dialed 911, all of that was done within about 60 seconds,” he said.

Ismael Villarreal, the Tuloso-Midway trainer, said he when he reached Contreras, “he was still sitting in a chair. I assisted him to the ground and then we went ahead and attached the AED pads right away.”

“I’ve used the AED and began administering CPR. I was the first one, then quickly a PD officer which, I’m so bad at names and I apologize to them both,” he continued.

“A PD officer saw me and right away, started assisting me, and then an off-duty fireman was here for the game. He came down and was basically facilitating so there was three of us working on him until EMS arrived,” he added.

Coach Ruben Garcia of H.M. King said Contreras will be deeply missed, according to KRIS.

“I mean, everyone from not only Kingsville, just a bunch of coaches throughout the state and everyone else in the community, is heartbroken,” he said.

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“Coach Contreras was a great all-around guy. He was funny, a great guy to talk to, just a very nice guy. He cared about the kids. Great guy to have on staff and a great guy to be around,” he said.

Garcia added his own message: “Just keep his family and their children and all of their family in your prayers. His siblings, nieces, nephews. Life is short. Hug your loved ones. Tell them you love them every day because you just never know.”

“Coach Contreras will be sincerely missed by all who knew him,” Kingsville ISD Superintendent Dr. Cissy Reynolds-Perez said in a Facebook post on behalf of the school district.

The game that had been scheduled for Friday was postponed until Saturday, with Kingsville losing 14-12, according to the Caller-Times.

Garcia said the players gave it everything they had for Contreras.

“It just shows who they are and their character,” Garcia said. “They wanted to play for him, and they wanted to go out there and do everything they could do to honor him. They had him on their heart, and that’s what type of kids we have in our community.”

“He was a great guy to be around, and he was someone that brightened your day,” Garcia said. “He was an all-around good guy that really cared about the kids.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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