Georgia high school football coaches on leave after player's death on first day of practice

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Two Georgia high school football coaches were placed on administrative leave following the death of a 15-year-old student-athlete in late July.

Joshua Ivory, a sophomore at Southwest High School in Macon, collapsed during the first day of practice and died about an hour later at a local hospital. On Thursday, Bibb County officials told 13 WMAZ head coach Joe Dupree and offensive coordinator Robert Cummings were placed on leave with pay.

Officials told the station the investigation into the teen’s death was ongoing.

July 26 was the first day of practice for Georgia high school football teams statewide. Rules call for a five-day period for players to get used to the heat and physical exertion while practicing in shorts and helmets. On that day, the National Weather Service said Macon reached a high of 97 degrees before 4 p.m. Practice started at 6 p.m., according to The Telegraph of Macon.

No cause of death was given in Ivory’s case. Bibb County coroner Leon Jones said it might take Georgia Bureau of Investigation medical examiners about two months or longer to determine how Ivory died.

“You’re not prepared for anything like this,” Dupree told 13 WMAZ last month. “You can’t go to school for anything like this. It’s a tough situation. I always tell parents that I will treat their child like one of my own because they are with me the majority of the time. You take on that huge responsibility, you love the kids and they love you. You just hate for something this tragic to happen to one of your babies.”

Bibb County schools athletic director Barney Hester told The Telegraph in July that Dupree saw what was happening and followed the rules. Hester said Dupree and his staff did a “remarkable job” when they saw Ivory in distress.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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