KY high school football player falls ill, dies after helping with flood cleanup

Jessica Caudill/Photo provided by family

Knott Central High School football player Aaron “Mick” Crawford had been helping victims of Eastern Kentucky flooding for about three days when he started to feel unwell.

The unexpected medical issue resulted in his death on Aug. 5, about four days after he began feeling unwell, according to his mother.

“He ... just went into cardiac arrest,” his mother Ronda Crawford said Sunday, explaining his death.

“We do not know the reason and have no explanation for what happened.”

Mick Crawford was rushed into intensive care and was on a ventilator for about four days, she said. He had no medical history that would explain his condition.

“Mick was the kindest sweetest kid,” Crawford told the Herald-Leader. “I know everyone thinks their kid is the best but he was special. He wanted to help people even before the rain had stopped.”

Ronda and David Crawford decided on organ donation because “we know that Mick had an amazing heart and would give anyone anything they asked from him,” Ronda Crawford said.

“It’s what he would want.”

Mick Crawford, who turned 18 on July 23, would pray for anyone he met and wouldn’t hesitate to ask if you knew Jesus, his mother said.

“If Mick could give us his final wish it would be that everyone come to know Jesus because that’s the most important thing in this world to him,” she said

Mick Crawford lived in Jeff, a town in Perry County. He was the baby in a family of eight and had five brothers and two sisters, his family said.

He would have been a junior at Knott Central High School this fall and was proud to be both on the football and wrestling team, his mother said.

His body is being brought back Monday from Lexington where he was in the hospital. He’ll be accompanied into Perry County Monday morning by a police escort.

“I love him and will miss my friend,” Perry County Sheriff Joe Engle said.

“Mick was what every human should strive to be. I believe his entire life was about making us better, that’s how he lived and when he died he made others, even strangers, lives better,” said Engle, who was also Mick’s pastor.

Crawford was trying to help victims of historic flooding clean up and begin to recover after catastrophic damage was done to much of Eastern Kentucky. Thirty-seven people had been reported dead as a result of the floods, according to state officials. Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday that they would increase the death toll to 38 following Crawford’s death.