South Carolina

Teen passes out, dies at outdoor workout for Georgia high school dance team, family says

Elyse Purefoy, a rising senior at a Georgia high school, passed out and later died during training for the dance team.
Elyse Purefoy, a rising senior at a Georgia high school, passed out and later died during training for the dance team. GoFundMe Screen Grab

A 17-year-old rising senior passed out and died Monday during training for her Georgia high school’s dance team, the DeKalb County School District said.

Elyse Purefoy was working out with the team at Arabia Mountain High School when she collapsed, the school district said in a news release. The school is about 20 miles away from Atlanta.

EMS took Purefoy to an area hospital, where she was pronounced dead, according to the news release.

“The doctors did their best to bring you back but your heart just stopped working,” Purefoy’s family said in an online fundraiser. “Elyse you are a beautiful spirit. And we will miss you so much.”

Purefoy’s brother, Malik, said severe dehydration or an undiagnosed heart condition are being investigated as possibilities in the death of the teen who was captain of the cheerleading squad, WSB reported.

No official cause of death has been given.

Although her father, Hank, said Purefoy “was very physically fit,” WAGA reported that family members said the 17-year-old was “feeling tired” before Monday’s practice that included running laps on the school’s track.

Hank Purefoy said his daughter “completed a sports physical before participating in the training,” according to WSB.

The high temperature Monday in Atlanta was 83 degrees, although it felt like 85 with humidity, per

The school district said it is participating in an investigation, and grief counselors will be available Wednesday morning “for anyone needing support.”

“The entire DeKalb County School District, and especially the Arabia Mountain High School family, mourns Elyse’s passing. Our hearts and thoughts are with the Purefoy family and all who knew and loved Elyse,” the school district said in the news release.

In addition to being a cheerleader and on the dance team, Purefoy was a member of Future Business Leaders of America, according to WAGA. She had a 3.9 GPA, WSB reported.

Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.