In many respects, Creekside High School cornerback De‚ÄôAntre Turman followed in the footsteps of Georgia cornerback Damian Swann.
‚ÄúHe kind of took some of the same steps that I took throughout little league, throughout middle school, throughout high school,‚Äù Swann said. ‚ÄúThe kid had a bright future.‚Äù
Swann will return to the Atlanta area today for Turman‚Äôs funeral.
De‚ÄôAntre ‚ÄúTre Tre‚Äù Turman died after sustaining a spinal cord injury in a preseason game while playing for Creekside High on Aug. 16.
The 16-year old junior fractured vertebrae in his upper spinal cord, investigators in the Fulton County‚Äôs Medical Examiner‚Äôs office told The Associated Press.
The funeral will be in Austell. Swann said he‚Äôll be excused from practice.
Swann, who played at Grady High, and Turman both grew up around Ben Hill Recreation Center. Swann said he first knew Turman when he was about 6 and Swann was 10.
‚ÄúI used to mentor Tre Tre,‚Äù Swann said Friday. ‚ÄúWe played at the same park and he always grew up under me. I used to watch him play all the time. ‚Ä¶ We communicated often, we talked a lot. It was one of those things that was really hard for me when I did get the phone call or when I did wake up to all those missed calls the next morning.‚Äù
Swann tweeted last Saturday morning: ‚ÄúToday was the first time I shed tears in a while.‚Äù
Swann said he views what happened to a player he called ‚Äúmy brother‚Äù as a freak accident. Turman reportedly had a scholarship offer from Kentucky.
‚ÄúThey said it was just a routine tackle, heads up and it was something that just happened,‚Äù Swann said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs kind of hard to think about because it kind of brings fear into people and it makes people have injuries playing scared. That‚Äôs how a lot of people get hurt.‚Äù
Georgia freshman cornerback Shaq Wiggins, from Sandy Creek, also grew up around Ben Hill, where hundreds came Sunday for a vigil.
‚ÄúGod,‚Äù Swann said, ‚Äúhas a plan for everybody.‚Äù