IRMO, S.C. — Dutch Fork High School held a memorial service Friday for football player Jack Alkhatib, who died suddenly after collapsing at practice on Tuesday.
Alkhatib was practicing with the team Tuesday afternoon when he collapsed. He was rushed to Prisma Health-Parkridge, where doctors pronounced him dead a short time later.
On Friday, family, friends, and teammates reflected fondly on their memories of Alkhatib.
“Jack was probably the closest thing to a perfect human I ever met. He never really put himself out there you know," said his teammate and best friend Coby Donaldson. "He wasn’t worried about anything, like he wasn’t worried about being seen and stuff. He was just worried about the people he was close with, and the people he was around.”
“He didn’t talk much, but of course, I’m the parent so he’s not gonna talk much to me," said team parent Keisha Nixon. "But just around, just when I met him, he was all full of smiles, and I never heard anything bad about Jack. He’s just, he was a great kid.”
Many were still in disbelief that they were saying their final goodbyes to someone they loved.
“It broke my heart, especially since I just got to know the mother, and I’ve known Jack ... but to just lose someone like this, that you know ... it’s just, it’s still unbelievable,” Nixon said.
Teammates recalled what happened on that tragic Tuesday aftrnoon.
“He looked, said 'I’m dizzy,' took a step up, and fell," said Ethan Benson. "And then since then, we’re right here every single day, every morning during school cause we can’t focus.”
“I just wanted to see him again. I was hoping the next day I would walk in and be like, 'Man, you scared me yesterday' and stuff," Donaldson said. "He probably would’ve just been like, probably said something dumb like,' I just couldn’t breathe,' or something like that, just laughing and joking.”
Now, Alkhatib's teammates vow to finish off the season in his memory.
“He wouldn’t want nobody to be sad," Donaldson said. "He wouldn’t want nobody to cry.”
We’re just gonna do this season for him and get the six for him. And then go our separate ways and just pray for Jack. Pray for him, pray for his family,” said Benson.