Darryl Lindsey, who quarterbacked Eastern High School to the Interhigh football championship in 1978 and was expected to start at North Carolina Central next season, died Saturday of meningitis.
According to his coach, Henry Lattimore, Mr. Lindsey, 19, said he was not feeling well Thursday but attended a football workout at NCCU. He developed a fever and became very ill late Friday night. Several teammates rushed him to Duke Medical Center, where he died Saturday about 6 p.m.
"He didn't have any history of being sick, to our knowledge," Lattimore said. "He hadn't been sick before Friday. People will ask the same question, why, and come up with the same answer. No one knows why. It was just one of those unfortunate things that happened. This has been very rough on all of us."
Mr. Lindsey's high school coach, Willie Stewart, said he was shocked when he learned of the death.
"He had never been sick when he played for me, that's why it's so hard to believe he had spinal meningitis," Stewart said. "He was home last weekend and had a cold and sore throat he couldn't get rid of. His parents were going to take him to the doctor but he said he would be fine and, if he didn't get better, see a doctor when he got back to school.
"His parents said the doctors diagnosed the meningitis, but couldn't prevent the infection from reaching his brain. He went into convulsions, then a coma, and died. It's rough because he was the first of the seven brothers and sisters to attend college," said Stewart, who coached Mr. Lindsey's younger brother, Jerome, last year. "None of the kids have ever been sick."
North Carolina State Medical Examiner John Butts said an autopsy was performed with the family's permission at Duke Medical Center to determine if the meningitis represented a health hazard.
"The illness was diagnosed as a meningococcal infection which is not contagious to the general public," Dr. Butts said. "At the time we were contacted the hospital had done everything we would have done and nothing was found to be out of the ordinary."
Mr. Lindsey, 6 feet, 170 pounds, was considered a fine passer and team leader. An all-Interhigh East selection his senior year at Eastern, he completed more than 55 percent of his passes en route to the East Division title and the league crown. The Ramblers shut out Dunbar, 13-0, in the championship game at RFK Stadium and Mr. Lindsey was selected as offensive player of the game.
Mr. Lindsey played sparingly his freshman season at NCCU, throwing only five passes. Last year, he suffered a hairline fracture in his left ankle during preseason practice and Lattimore decided to redshirt him. He was expected to beat out incumbent seniors Charles Yuille and Ken Pugh for the starting position next fall.
"We didn't recruit any quarterbacks last year because we knew Darryl would be the man to handle that job for us," Lattimore said. "He was one of the best prospects to come through here. It is really unfortunate."
Funeral services will be held Friday night at the Holy Temple Church, 439 12th St. SE at 8:30.