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Buford High School football coach, Ryan Daniel, dies after heart attack

7:27 PM, Jan 27, 2012   |    comments
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Ryan Daniel, 30, was playing a basketball game at the school when he unexpectedly collapsed. (Image courtesy: Buford High School)

BUFORD, Ga. -- Players of Buford High School's basketball team will wear wrist bands at their Friday night game with the initials of one of their beloved coaches who died Thursday.

CONDOLENCES | Post your thoughts for Ryan Daniel's family
PHOTOS | Remembering Ryan Daniel

Thirty-year-old coach and special education teacher Ryan Daniel collapsed while playing basketball with fellow faculty members before school.

"My coaching staff, they're trained in AED and CPR and they reacted immediately," says Buford High principal Dr. Banks Bitterman.

Daniel's fellow coaches performed CPR and used an Automated External Defribillator but could not revive him. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. 

Just five years ago, Daniel lost his father to a massive heart attack at age 56. Bitterman said Ryan knew the risk and took good care of himself; in fact, they worked out together just a few nights ago, and Daniel ran for 45 minutes on a treadmill.

"This young man didn't take care of himself just a little bit, he ran all the time," Bitterman said. "He was in great cardiovascular health. He worked out hard."

A 2000 graduate of Buford High School, Ryan returned after college to teach and to coach three sports -- football, baseball and basketball. Students adored him. So did the staff, many of whom taught him growing up.

Buford football coach Jess Simpson, who coached Daniel when he was in high school and worked with him at the school, said Daniel was a "favorite son of Buford" who "always made your day better."

"Some people are blessed with a gift to love everybody and share that love, and he just was."

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