While the NFL postseason rages on, the offseason is underway in both college and high school football. That time is typically reserved for some much-needed rest and relaxation, as well as offseason surgeries to correct issues from the long season. Tragically, one of those surgeries did not go as planned.
One day before entering surgery to repair his ACL and meniscus, Spartanburg High School senior Nick Dixon committed to play college football for Wingate University near Charlotte, North Carolina. Due to complications during the procedure, Dixon died on Friday afternoon. He was 18 years old.
According to a Facebook post from Spartanburg School District 7, Dixon played linebacker, defensive line, and running back. Plus, he was a captain for the Spartanburg Vikings and head coach Chris Miller this past season. After their year ended, Dixon also recorded three tackles in the Shrine Bowl, an annual all-star game featuring the best players in the Carolinas.
A vigil was held for Nick Dixon on the team’s football field Sunday night.
While the school was still mourning Dixon’s death, the school district’s head athletic trainer, Coach Bryant Rose, died unexpectedly the following Monday morning. After serving the school for more than 25 years, the husband of the high school’s principal, Dr. Meredith Rose. Rose was a graduate of Appalachian State University and served in the U.S. Coast Guard during his younger days.
Bryant Rose was 58 years old when he died following surgery, according to Coroner Rusty Clevenger.
“You can tell a lot about our young people with what they post on social media and if you take some time and look at his, all you will find is [Nick Dixon] encouraging different people,” Superintendent Dr. Russell Booker told WLTX News. “His last post – he posted something that said, ‘not done yet.’ He was encouraging somebody back in November where he says “God always has a plan.” I want all of us to take heart in Nick’s words that God always has a plan.”
The sadness experienced by this South Carolina school district and their community is hard to fathom. Losing two people in the community in a matter of days is such a tragedy, but both are remembered for their uplifting personalities and all-around incredible characters.