Football team chaplain calls student death a "freak accident"

It's still unclear how Jace Taylor died over the weekend. He played for Bradley Central High School's football team.

The Bradley County Sheriff's Department is now investigating the death of a high school athlete.

It's still unclear how Jace Taylor died over the weekend. He played for Bradley Central High School's football team.

Sunday, friends and family held a vigil at the football field.

Team Chaplin Mickey Clark talked to us about Jace on behalf the Taylor Family Monday morning.

"We called him Rick Flare- that was his nickname because he had that flamboyant personality, loved to laugh, loved to have fun, always making jokes, the life of everything going on," Clark said. "We are thankful we had the unbelievable 16 years that we did have. We hurt because we love."

The Bradley County Sheriff's Office says it is investigating how Jace died, but would not say why.

"There are a lot of students that have a lot of different questions and we need to make sure that they understand that sometimes life doesn't go the way they want it to go," Clark said.

According to an incident report, Taylor was found unresponsive at his home in bed after spending the day with friends on Thursday.

Clark says Taylor was taken to the hospital Thursday, before he passed away on Saturday.

He says before that there had been no indication Jace was struggling with anything.

"No, this was just a freak accident," he said. "As much as all of us are mourning and hurting today, where we are really confident is that he did make a decision to accept Christ as Lord and Savior less than a year ago and was baptized."

The Bradley County Medical Examiner says the autopsy has not been completed yet, and toxicology reports will take months to get back.

The sheriff's department says their investigation is hanging on the results of that report.

The Taylor family released the following statement Monday afternoon:

Scott, Angie, and Brooke Taylor are mourning the loss and celebrating the life of Jace, their beloved son and brother. Jace was a key member of the Bradley football team and was loved by all his teammates and everyone who met him. Jace lived a life filled with football, friends, fun, and good memories at the lake. This is a difficult situation that shows just how fragile life is, so Jace's church and community are rallying around his family. We ask the media to respect the family and friends by not questioning them. Instead, as a community, let's surround the Taylor's with the love of God and join them in seeking ways to honor Jace's memory.

From Todd Stevison (spokesperson for the family) and the Taylor Family

The family is still working on funeral arrangements. Depend on NewsChannel 9 for updates when we get them.

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