School district knew of track athlete’s doctor’s appointment prior to his death

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Officials with the Raymore-Peculiar School District confirm to FOX 4 they were aware about a doctor’s appointment that a track athlete had the day before he collapsed and died during Wednesday’s practice.

Ja'Leel Freeman's yearbook photo courtesy of Raymore-Peculiar School District.

Ja’Leel Freeman’s yearbook photo courtesy of Raymore-Peculiar School District.

District spokeswoman Michele Stidham told FOX 4 the coach was aware of 17-year-old Ja’Leel Freeman’s appointment for his heart and the teen’s running at practice was limited. Stidham said Freeman was also monitored throughout practice.

Freeman’s mother, Adraine Freeman, told FOX 4 she had just taken her son to a doctor’s appointment because he had been having problems with his heart. She said the doctor didn’t want him to do too much physical activity but Ja’Leel still wanted to run. Freeman said her son had just been put on a waiting list for a procedure.

Stidham would not confirm to FOX 4 if the coaches decided to limit Freeman’s running or if it was put in place by a doctor’s order. Stidham said the doctor had given the okay for Freeman to ago to track practice.

According to the school’s superintendent, Freeman had to undergo a physical and complete the required medical forms before participating in sports.

Friends and family came together Friday night to remember Freeman at Rockhurst High School, where the Ray-Pec boys basketball district championship game was taking place, Friday night.

“He was always caring for someone else so it’s going to be hard not to see him every day,” said Adraine Freeman, Ja’Leel’s mother. “He loved running. He loved his cross country people and the people he ran with.”

Freeman told FOX 4 her son loved the environment, recycling and science.

“I appreciate everything that everybody has been doing for us, I just never saw so much love,” Freeman said Friday.

Freeman had just started track practice this week. After running outside the student had difficulty breathing and collapsed in the locker room, according to the school district. He was pronounced dead at Belton Regional Hospital.

A GoFundMe.com account has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses.

Previous coverage: