Former BHS gridder dies at 18

Courtney Stone, who played football at Bremerton High School from 2005 to 2007, died at the age of 18 Aug. 14. - File Photo
Courtney Stone, who played football at Bremerton High School from 2005 to 2007, died at the age of 18 Aug. 14.
— image credit: File Photo

Former Bremerton High School football player Courtney Stone, 18, died Aug. 14 in Little Rock, Ark., two days after collapsing following an Arkansas Baptist College football practice.

According to the Arkansas-Democrat Gazette, Stone passed out during a team meeting about 10 minutes after an Aug. 12 morning practice. He was taken to St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 4:53 p.m. Aug. 14.

Pulaski County Coroner Garland Camper said Monday a toxicology report is complete and a cause of death has been determined, but “we are still a ways out from releasing a statement.” Camper didn’t say whether Stone had underlying health conditions.

The college was issued a subpoena Monday, to which it had three days to respond, and it plans to conduct an independent investigation.

Arkansas Baptist football coach Richard Wilson, who did not return phone calls or e-mails seeking comment, told FOX16 News in Little Rock he is sensitive to players’ physical conditioning early in the season, particularly in August when the heat and humidity is high. The Aug. 14 practice after which Stone collapsed was the team’s first in full pads.

“ ... the whole process is that we realize that we’re dealing with kids, and some of them, we don’t know their conditioning level,” Wilson told FOX16.

Stone played for the Knights his sophomore and junior seasons, from 2005 to 2007, before moving to Arkansas to be closer to family. He was a defensive lineman who wore No. 66.

“I liked Courtney and he was a strong player for our team,” said Knights coach Nate Gillam. “He was a good kid, and I mean that sincerely.”

Gillam said he was disappointed when Stone moved to Arkansas because Stone was a solid player and would have contributed significantly to the 2008 squad, which finished 2-8. Stone left to be closer to his then-ailing grandmother, who has since died.

“I was upset when he transferred, but it was for family,” Gillam said. “I always tell the guys, ‘Family comes first.’”

Asked whether he would use Stone’s death as a rallying cry for the 2009 campaign, Gillam said most of Stone’s former teammates have since graduated. Only this year’s seniors — who were sophomores in 2007 — remain from Stone’s playing days at BHS.

“We’re going to deal with it, move forward and play football,” Gillam said.

Tim Calnan, whose son Glenn was a close friend of Stone’s, remembers the former Knight as a quiet, pleasant person. Stone often visited the Calnan residence to play video games and watch movies with Glenn and other friends.

“There was never a day when he came to the door and I thought, ‘Oh, no, not him again,’” Calnan said. “It was always like family with Courtney. You couldn’t ask for a kinder person.”

memorial service was last night at Bremerton Memorial Stadium.

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