GAITHERSBURG, Md. - The Quince Orchard High School community gathered at the school’s football field Tuesday night to remember the life of a student and star football player who passed away from cardiac arrest.
Tyler Terry collapsed on the morning of Jan. 29 during a fight at a community basketball court in Gaithersburg that involved two groups of people. Montgomery County police say the 17-year-old student started fighting with another man that involved minimal physical contact. After about two to three minutes, Terry stopped and walked away from the fight, appearing to be tired.
According to police, two other fights broke out shortly after and that is when Terry collapsed and became unconscious. Terry was transported to the hospital where he remained intensive care until he passed away on Feb. 11.
Medical staff concluded the student was not hurt from the fight, and that Terry had a pre-existing medical condition that led to cardiac arrest.
Investigators are reviewing the case with county prosecutors to determine if any criminal charges are warranted in this case.
Over the past week, students have been adding chalk drawings to the walls outside of the school while also honoring him with shirts and balloons with his jersey number – No. 6.
Terry’s family joined students and staff on the football field and in the bleachers, a fitting location to honor the 17-year-old varsity football linebacker. He had committed to play college football at Monmouth University in the fall.
His coaching staff and students took turns sharing stories about the Quince Orchard senior as he was described as charismatic, funny and strong. They lit candles symbolizing how bright Terry’s spirit shined in everyone’s lives and released balloons into the air with the chant, “Fly High Ty.”
Quince Orchard head football coach John Kelley told the crowd during Tuesday night's vigil, “You want to have him live on through you? Do things for him. You go full board -- everything you do for him. Whatever it might be, that is how you keep him alive. That is how you keep his memory going strong. You do it for your brother. You do it for him."
Doc Bonner, Quince Orchard's quarterback this past season, will wear No. 6 at the Air Force Academy in honor of his best friend.
"That's my brother. He's my brother. We've known each other since we were 7 years old playing football together," he said. "That's a big change from 10 to 6, but it's worth it because it's honoring him and showing he had a big impact on my life as much as he did for everyone else here."
Terry's cousin hopes his death brings awareness about how precious life can be.
“Awareness to heart conditions, awareness to know life can be taken from you at any age no matter who you are, where you are from, to open each other’s eyes,” said Andre Chaney. “Tonight, we are going to be just remembering him because he touched everyone in so many different ways.”
Terry’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with medical bills and funeral costs. For more information, go to www.gofundme.com/supporttheterrys