Another One: Teen Athlete Dies Suddenly While at Golf Practice - Unknown Cause of Death


A 17-year-old high school golfer died suddenly Sept. 12 in Holmes County on Florida’s Panhandle while practicing for an upcoming tournament.

According to WJHG-TV in Panama City, Tyler Erickson was a senior at Holmes County High School who was known for his prowess in both academics and athletics.

He served as state president of the National Beta Club and was a standout talent on the golf course.

Holmes County High School Athletic Director Jeff Lee said Erickson died doing what he loved.

“Actually what he was doing when the tragedy struck was going out to work on his golf game, and that’s the type of guy he was,” Lee said.

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Erickson’s parents said he came home following golf practice that Monday, and after drinking some water, he decided he wanted to go back on the course to practice some more, WMBB-TV in Panama City reported.

When the sun went down, Erickson had yet to return home. His parents grew concerned and went out on the course to look for him. They eventually found their son dead on the floorboard of a golf cart on the course’s sixth hole.

Holmes County Commissioner Clint Erickson was Tyler’s father, and he wrote in a Facebook post that the cause of death had not been confirmed.

“After getting to the hospital the doctor believes he might have had a heart attack or blood clot,” Clint Erickson wrote. “I requested an autopsy.

“This is one of those situations you stand back and pray and cry and pray again. I don’t understand why. I just know my Tyler will be missed by his family and friends. Please keep us in prayer.”

Speaking to WJHG, Erickson said his son touched many lives in his short time on Earth.

“My child had been a blessing to my wife, and my two daughters,” Erickson said. “One older daughter and one younger daughter. We will cherish him forever.”

While he did not know why his son was taken from him so soon, he said the family was trusting God in the midst of the tragedy.

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“It was God’s will,” Erickson said. “We believe it was God’s will for this to happen. It was an unexplainable accident, and it’s just hard. It’s hard and it’s difficult to move on, but we’ve got to move on. But just as a family, we feel blessed that we’ve been able to have him.”

Erickson’s death came just two days before his 18th birthday, WJHG reported.

He had been set to appear in a production by Holmes County High School’s drama department. The event was postponed in the wake of his death.

The school planned to hold a bubble release in Erickson’s honor.

This tragedy was just the latest in a string of sudden deaths that have struck seemingly healthy young men in recent weeks.

On Sept. 10, 18-year-old Lorenzo Squillance, a lifeguard at San Benedetto del Tronto in Italy, died shortly after beginning to feel ill. His mother said he was a healthy young man who worked as a lifeguard.

The previous week, 17-year-old Ali Muhammad unexpectedly died in his sleep. He was a senior at Rahway High School in central New Jersey, where he served as the backup center on the football team.

On Aug. 30, 20-year-old Canadian junior ice hockey star Eli Palfreyman died during the intermission of a game. He had been named captain of his team, the Ayr Centennials of Ayr, Ontario, just days prior.

Friends and family of all four of these young men are continuing to mourn their untimely deaths.

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Grant is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He has five years of writing experience with various outlets and enjoys covering politics and sports.
Grant is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor's degree in journalism. He has five years of writing experience with various outlets and enjoys covering politics and sports.