Father looking for answers after high school son’s collapse, death following basketball game

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Early Johnson is hoping an autopsy will reveal how his 19-year-old son, James Hampton, died Saturday evening.

Hampton was playing in a basketball tournament in Virginia Saturday. According to a report from the Charlotte Observer, the 19-year-old athlete collapsed on the court during a game and died.

Hampton's family members live in the Washington D.C. area, but Hampton came to Charlotte to play basketball at the Liberty Heights Athletic Institute. He also played for Team United, a Charlotte AAU organization.

In a phone conversation Monday night, Johnson spoke about the questions he has regarding his son's death. Johnson said he wasn't at the tournament and wonders what transpired immediately following his son's collapse.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Hampton appeared unconscious as medical personnel ran on to the court to assist him. Chest compressions were administered.

"I don't know how long it took the paramedics to get down there," said Johnson.

He said he was getting calls from people at the game who told him his son's heart had stopped. He wants to know if a defibrillator was present somewhere in the vicinity.

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"I think people need to open their eyes up and know that anything can happen at any time and you got to be prepared," said Johnson.

The grieving father said he isn't angry at anyone or looking to place blame, but does want to know what led to his son's death.

WBTV reached out to Nike after hours Monday to inquire about medical personnel and medical equipment present at the games. A spokesperson for Nike says medical personnel were present for the games and a defibrillator was used in an attempt to keep Hampton alive.

Johnson said his son has passed out during basketball games before, but doctors have never been able to determine what was causing this to happen.

"They ran every test on him from the brain to the heart and the hospital said everything came back normal," explained Johnson.

He said that doctors had placed his son on seizure medication at one point, but he hasn't heard any information from those at Saturday's game that would lead him to believe his son suffered a seizure prior to his death.

There has been an outpouring of support for Hampton on social media. NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen and University of South Carolina Men's Basketball Coach Frank Martin are among those who have shared messages about Hampton. Johnson said he appreciates all the kind words that have been coming from professional athletes and basketball fans.

"You see the love I'm getting from the players. NBA players are tweeting. Everybody is giving love to this boy," said Johnson.

James' funeral is being held at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 8, at The Temple of Praise Church in Washington, DC.

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