High school football player dies in ACL surgery day after college commitment

Nick Dixon 1_1547265977931.jpg_67214940_ver1.0_640_360_1547424685640.jpg_67317027_ver1.0_640_360_1547425056817.jpg.jpg

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Friends, family, and an entire school district are mourning the death of an athlete. 

Spartanburg High School Senior Nick Dixon died Friday. 

“He had a very bright personality,” said family friend Primes Woodruff. “Had a really, really big heart.”

It’s heart those who know him said he showed on and off the football field. 

“Nick was a wonderful student, wonderful athlete,” said Spartanburg School District 7 Superintendent Dr. Russell Booker. “Nick was part of our Viking early college program Early on his high school career, which means he was already earning some college credits.”

Dixon played on the school’s football team where Dr. Booker said he was a captain and a motivator. The 18-year-old also competed in the Shrine Bowl with the best young athletes in the Carolinas.

“Which means he was one of the most elite athletes in his position,” Booker said. 

The community is now mourning the loss. 

“He took to this community so strongly – not just as an athlete but the pride he found in this community,” said Woodruff. “It’s always a shock to people when someone so young and so vibrant loses their life.”

Woodruff said Dixon went into surgery Friday morning to address a torn ACL and meniscus, but suffered complications. 

“They worked to revive him,” said Woodruff. 

The coroner says he died at Spartanburg Medical Center a little after 3:00 p.m. Friday.

“His mom’s taking it, you know, hard as expected. His stepfather is taking it hard, brothers and sisters,” said Woodruff.

Dixon’s school family is feeling the devastation too. 

“I’m broken hearted that I’m not going to shake his hand in May and give him that diploma,” said Dr. Booker. “As we have two thousand students coming to school on Monday they’re going to be heartbroken.”

It’s the broken hearts they said can carry on Dixon’s legacy. 

“Something they can take from the life of Nick Dixon is to always put your heart into everything you do,” said Woodruff. 

There’s a vigil on Sunday at 6:00pm on the football field. The school will also have grief counselors. 

“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 him encouraging different people,” said Dr. Booker. “His last post – he posted something that said “not done yet.” The 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 superintendent says Dixon actually committed to play for Wingate University Thursday night. 

They say the school is going to honor that commitment and bring his jersey on National Signing Day.

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