Jackson Preparatory School football player Walker Wilbanks died Monday after coming off the field and complaining of illness during the school’s home opener Friday night against Oxford.
The official cause of death was listed as cerebral adema secondary to exercise associated hyponatremia.
Joe Pressler, the high school junior’s lead physician at University of Mississippi Medical Center, said Wilbanks’ death “was a freak event,” and “could not have been predicted.” According to media reports, the youngster began vomiting and having a seizure after arrival at an area hospital emergency room Friday night.
Since the incident Friday night, there had been much speculation that Wilbanks had either been over hydrated or under hydrated. However, Pressler said that neither was the case, but did say balance between sodium and water was ultimately what caused the swelling in his brain. Pressler went on to say, “Walker did nothing wrong in preparation for this game. His coaches did nothing wrong in preparation for this game.”
Arrangements for services will be handled by the Wilbanks family’s church, First Baptist Church of Jackson. Further details will be shared as soon as they become available, Jackson Prep said in a press statement late Monday afternoon.
“Today, our prayers continue to be with David, Shelia, and Landon and the rest of the extended Wilbanks family, as well as Walker’s friends here at Prep and beyond, Jackson Prep Headmaster Jason L. Walton said
Wilbanks was a junior at Jackson Prep and a multi-sport student athlete who had been on state championship football and baseball teams. Walker was also a member of the Jackson Prep track team.
“The numbers of friends we have seen over the last few days have been a testament to the loving, caring, and charismatic young man that blessed all our lives,” Walton said.