Darton wrestler is gravely ill - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Darton wrestler is gravely ill

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Chuck Richards Chuck Richards
Darton AD Keifer and President Sireno Darton AD Keifer and President Sireno
Ben Richards (left) and Alex Washington were both overcome by heat Ben Richards (left) and Alex Washington were both overcome by heat
Ben Richards (Source: Facebook) Ben Richards (Source: Facebook)
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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Wrestler Ben Richards is from Florida and now his family is gathered at his hospital bedside here in Albany.

Chuck Richards' 20-year old son Ben, is in a fight for his life. The young Darton College wrestler collapsed Wednesday while on a five mile run with wrestling teammates.

"I want my boy. That's what I want more than anything else in this world," he said. But-- "The doctor told me this may not end well for Ben. Not knowing exactly what he meant, I said 'What do you mean?' He said this is a procedure in which Ben could die…"

When Ben Richards was rushed to Phoebe Wednesday, his temperature was 107. Now, his kidneys are in failure. "It pretty much devastated me," said his dad.

Devastating and also hard to understand, why Ben and his wrestling teammates were even out running Wednesday. Just the day before, teammate Alex Washington collapsed in the heat while training, and was rushed to the hospital.

Darton Athletic Director Mike Kiefer says after Tuesday's incident, changes were made in the team's practice routine. "I have spoken with the coaches and they had modified the workouts from day 2 versus day 1. But I don't know the exact modifications," he said.

Washington remains in serious condition in CCU. But he's developed pneumonia. Ben Richards' father isn't focused on what went wrong, but instead what needs to go right for his son. And he has a request.

"If you're a believer, a real one and know the Lord, please pray for my boy these next 24 hours," he said. Those crucial hours that will determine the fate of young man with so much to live for.

A third wrestler also spent the night in the hospital Wednesday from heat illness. Jaden Smith was released from the hospital Thursday.

 Darton State held a vigil Friday.

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