Community comes together in wake of football player's death
HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) - Neighbors are still grieving the death of 18-year-old Ronald Rouse, a loss that is felt throughout the entire Hartsville community.
The senior lineman was playing in Friday's homecoming football game when he suddenly collapsed on the sidelines.
"You could tell how much he was loved by his peers by the number of people who came by the hospital," says Senator Gerald Malloy.
According to Audrey Childers, a spokeswoman for the Darlington County School District, Rouse was walking onto the field for the next defensive play. He got into his stance, but immediately stood up and signaled for a time out.
As Rouse was walking off of the field, he collapsed. Doctors, coaches, and athletic trainers all ran to his aide. They were able to revive him, but as he was walking to the sidelines he collapsed again.
"His dad said his last words to him was while he was on the sidelines. He said ‘daddy, I'm alright'," says Senator Malloy.
He was taken to the hospital, but was declared dead at 8:45 p.m.
"He was doing what he loved," says Senator Malloy. Adding, "Football was tremendously important to him and it was obvious. You could tell by his zest for the game."
An autopsy report shows Rouse died from a fatal and sudden cardiac arrhythmia. The coroner says preliminary results show it was brought on by congenital enlarged heart.
"He was real funny, outgoing. He'd make anybody laugh," says Charlie Belangia, a senior at Hartsville High School.
An account is named in honor of Ronald Rouse at the Heritage Community Bank, located at 206 South Fifth Street. Neighbors can donate money in the teen's honor to help the family pay for the unexpected funeral costs.
"The community, what we have to do in times of crisis, is come together and lift this family up. Let them know that they have support and to cherish Mr. Rouse's life. It is an outpouring of support that would make you proud in such a tragic and difficult time," says Senator Malloy.
Other businesses in the area are raising money for the cause. Ruth's Drive-In will be collecting donations at their restaurant located at 659 West Carolina Avenue.
The community is reaching out to the Rouse family, by sending thoughts, prayers and love their way. The Hartsville Police Department posted on their Facebook page, asking their Facebook friends to be continuous in prayer for the Rouse family and be mindful of their loss during this difficult time.
Mayor Mel Pennington told WMBF News Anchor Michael Maely, "We are all definitely at a great loss. We're mourning with this family. This kid gave everything to his city and teammates. I'd expect this team will dedicate this entire season to him, because he was such an integral part of the team."
"I know the family is devastated, our hearts are with the family and the team during this terrible loss," the mayor cried.
On his twitter account, the mayor later stated, "I got a text this morning from a number I didn't recognize but it resonated. It simply said: We are, Red Foxes -- We are, Rouse Foxes."
Funeral services have been set, and family and friends will come together on Wednesday, Oct. 10 in the Hartsville High School arena to memorialize Ronald Rouse. Visit Hines Funeral Home for more information about the arrangements.
Crestwood High School agreed to allow Friday night's game to end as a 27-7 win for Hartsville, the score at halftime when the game was suspended. The second half of the game will not have to be played. "ThisMore>>
Ronald Ryles Rouse, Jr. Oct. 15, 1993 - Oct. 5, 2012 Service at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012 Family Gathering from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012 and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, Oct. 8, 2012 Cemetery: DarlingtonMore>>
Sunday, December 8 2013 11:12 PM EST2013-12-09 04:12:17 GMT
CAROLINA FOREST, SC (WMBF) Horry County Police are on the scene of shooting in Carolina Forest. The shooting occurred inside a home on Belleglen Court in The Fountains community just off of Gardner LacyMore >>
CAROLINA FOREST, SC (WMBF) Horry County Police are on the scene of shooting in Carolina Forest. The shooting occurred inside a home on Belleglen Court in The Fountains community just off of Gardner Lacy Road Sunday Night.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 7:53 PM EST2013-12-09 00:53:21 GMT
CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Just weeks before Christmas, thousands of workers lost their jobs in the region after a medical transport company closed their doors. Local employees say they got a call Saturday morningMore >>
Just weeks before Christmas, thousands of workers lost their jobs in the region after a medical transport company closed their doors. Local employees say they got a call Saturday morning from TransMed saying not to come into work.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 4:46 PM EST2013-12-08 21:46:50 GMT
FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF NEWS)- Two people were killed following a house fire at 207 Creek Drive in Quinby Saturday night. According to Florence County Coroner, Keith Von Lutcken, it happened aroundMore >>
Two people have died killed following a house fire on Creek Drive in Quinby Saturday night. More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 4:40 PM EST2013-12-08 21:40:44 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A man wanted on drug charges in Georgia found himself behind bars in Myrtle Beach. Police were called to a home on Fifth Avenue North for a trespassing complaint where they foundMore >>
A man wanted on drug charges in Georgia found himself behind bars in Myrtle Beach.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 1:42 PM EST2013-12-08 18:42:30 GMT
By Michael Smith firstname.lastname@example.org A former Horry County police officer's lawsuit against his former employers is moving into federal court. Meantime, the police department has filed a counterclaimMore >>
A former Horry County police officer's lawsuit against his former employers is moving into federal court.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 12:22 PM EST2013-12-08 17:22:21 GMT
It's the holiday season in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee. Here's a list of family-friendly events to enjoy. EVENTS IN MURRELLS INLET Annual Christmas Parade, Sunday, Dec. 1 at 3 p.m. Get in the holidayMore >>
It's the holiday season in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee. Here's a list of family-friendly events to enjoy.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 11:02 AM EST2013-12-08 16:02:34 GMT
By Michael Smith email@example.com No. 1 ranked North Dakota State could be facing Coastal Carolina University this Saturday without its head coach at the helm, according to multiple mediaMore >>
No. 1 ranked North Dakota State could be facing Coastal Carolina University this Saturday without its head coach at the helm, according to multiple media reports.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 12:13 AM EST2013-12-08 05:13:40 GMT
MISSOULA, MT (WMBF) - Coastal Carolina University's football traveled to Montana to challenge Montana State University in the FCS playoffs. The high temperature was a chilly -5 degrees, but that coldMore >>
Chants head to FCS third round for first time ever, and will face defending champion North Dakota State next Saturday. Kickoff set for noon (ET), and will be on ESPN.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 11:57 PM EST2013-12-08 04:57:11 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach High School's Seahawks got a grand sendoff when they left for Columbia where they are playing in the state championship game. The Seahawks will challenge DanielMore >>
Sean Huggins hits 22-yard field goal as time expires to help Myrtle Beach complete comeback season and win state championship.More >>