Boyd died Saturday after competing in the 100-meter dash at a state Special Olympics event in Troy.
“He completed the 100-meter dash and was kind of tired and we all thought, ‘Maybe he needs to rest for a little bit,’” said Coach Sylvester James.
“Paramedics checked him out and an ambulance carried him to the hospital and they worked on him for about an hour in the hospital, and then he passed away at the hospital.”
The cause of death has yet to be determined pending the results of an autopsy.
The 20-year-old had been a student at AIDB since the age of 3 and was enrolled at Alabama School for the Deaf through the eighth-grade.
“He was a competitor. He loved sports. He competed in basketball, volleyball, power lifting, and track and field, and he excelled in all of them,” James said.
“He was very competitive and I remember that in one game he hit two 3-pointers in a row to win the game for us. He was lucky enough to do what he enjoyed most — sports. Aaron was always the first person there to help load the bus or do whatever needed to be done.”
Boyd would have been a senior at the Helen Keller School next year.
“It was unreal,” James said. “This is something that has never happened to us or at an event we were at.”
Boyd collapsed following his first event of the track meet; it is reportedly the first student death at a state Special Olympics competition.
“His death comes as such a shock to all of us,” James said. “He spent the morning laughing, talking and hanging out with his friends and coaches.”
James said that aside from a knee surgery in January, he did not know of any prior health problems Boyd suffered from that could have led to his death.
Grief counselors were available for students Monday morning who needed to talk or discuss their feelings about Boyd’s death.
Boyd’s team members were also able to get counseling when they arrived back at AIDB after returning from the Troy event.
James and other AIDB staff members were on their way back to Talladega Monday afternoon after visiting with Boyd’s mother, Stacy Clark, in Wedowee.
“We just left his mother’s house and discussed funeral arrangements and she wanted to make sure that his friends from Helen Keller were there,” James said.
The funeral service will be Thursday at 1 p.m. at Midway Community Life Center in Boyd’s hometown of Wedowee.
The Helen Keller School will plan an event in the fall to plant a tree on campus as a celebration of Boyd’s life.
“Aaron was such a strong young man, we’ll have to plant a big oak tree to represent what he meant to us,” HKS principal Christy Atkinson said.
An Aaron Boyd Memorial Fund has been established in the AIDB Foundation and gifts may be sent to P.O. Box 698, Talladega, AL 35161.
Contact Aziza Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.