Funeral set for Ashdown teen lost to suspected equine encephalit - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Funeral set for Ashdown teen lost to suspected equine encephalitis

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13-year-old Coleman Pearson was being treated at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock when he passed away Tuesday. 13-year-old Coleman Pearson was being treated at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock when he passed away Tuesday.
Students, faculty and members of the community met at the pole outside Ashdown Junior High to pray and comfort one another in the wake of Pearson's death. Students, faculty and members of the community met at the pole outside Ashdown Junior High to pray and comfort one another in the wake of Pearson's death.
The 8th grade football player wore a #32 jersey. The 8th grade football player wore a #32 jersey.
ASHDOWN, AR (KSLA) -

An Arkansas community is mourning the loss of a middle school football player who died from what is believed to be a rare case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

13-year-old Coleman Pearson was being treated at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock when he passed away Tuesday. 

On Wednesday afternoon and again Thursday morning, students, faculty and members of the community met at the pole outside Ashdown Junior High to pray and comfort one another in the wake of Pearson's death.

"The kids have been as much support to the teachers as the teachers have been supporting the kids," said Principal James Jones.

Still, the teen's friends and fellow students are struggling to come to terms with the loss. "Coleman was known for making others feel important many of us here today can't help but ask why," said one student at the pole.

Others shared their memories. "He would always give everything he got in everything that he did and he would never bully and I think that means the world to everybody else," said friend Chance Redfern.

The 8th grade football player wore a #32 jersey. Now, that number is posted around the campus. A fundraiser is planned in Pearson's memory at the Chili's in on Mall Dr. in Texarkana on Wednesday, October 30, from 4 - 10:30 p.m. Chili's will donate 15% of the event day sales for each patron presenting the fundraiser flyer.

Pearson's funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at the Ashdown High School football stadium.

State health officials say the teen's condition has not been confirmed by the federal Centers for Disease Control, but would be the first human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Arkansas in the more than 50 years the state has been keeping records.

The CDC's web site says the disease is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito and causes inflammation of the brain. There is no specific treatment and care is based on symptoms that can include disorientation, seizures, or coma.

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