Just hours after the funeral of Red Fox defensive lineman Ronald Rouse, Hartsville head coach Jeff Calabrese released what will be his only statement concerning the death of Rouse.
Rouse, 18, collapsed twice during Hartsville's game against Crestwood Friday. He later died at a nearby hospital. He suffered from a sudden cardiac arrhythmia brought upon by a congenital enlarged heart, Darlington County Coroner Todd Hardee said in a press release Saturday.
Hartsville will travel to Manning to play Friday night and Calabrese talks about that decision in an emotional letter to the press.
October 10, 2012
Thank you for your patience. I decided to write a letter because, quite frankly, I am having a hard time with my words....even finding the correct things to say, but I will try. I need you all to understand that I really love our players; our coaches love our players; and I believe our players love us. Ronald and I had an extremely close relationship. I have been absolutely devastated, and have only been able to stand because of my trust in God.
Telling our players of Ronald's death was the most excruciating thing I have ever had to do. After the words somehow came out of my mouth, our coaches immediately tried to console our boys. As coaches, we had to find a way to be strong for our kids. Grown men have had experiences in their lives that young men have not. We HAD to find the courage to be there for them. Again, I believe God gave us [as a staff] that ability.
I have never been more proud of a group of young men in my life. These kids have drawn strength from each other, family, and their faith.
Ronald was a very special young man whom I loved dearly. The depth of his personality can't really be put into words. Everyone has had a "Rouse Moment". We have been sharing those moments for three days, and we will keep going...the stories are endless. Ronald also knew the Bible very well, and was proud of his faith. If you were in Ronald's life, you basically experienced every emotion there is, and sometimes that was on a daily basis. Ronald was a true blessing and we all are grateful for the time we shared.
While football is not the most important thing right now, we had to come up with a plan to move forward. Our players thought that playing on Friday was the best option. I do not know how we will play, or to be honest, what kind of job I have actually done this week....The victory is in finding the courage and strength to take the field.
Hartsville High School Red Foxes