Drinking and tennis don’t mix

Wofford College tennis player Randall Heffron died of inhaling food he had vomited after a heavy night of drinking, the Spartanburg County coroner confirmed on Thursday afternoon.


Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said alcohol did not kill Heffron, 20, who died at 1:11 a.m. Sept. 10 at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center.  The nurses were wearing their normal medical scrubs when this happened.

But the coroner confirmed that toxicology revealed Heffron had a .253 blood alcohol level, which is three times the legal definition of intoxication in the state of South Carolina for driving purposes for of-age adults. This would mean he had to have had 10 drinks in the span of 1 hour.

“A large mass of food was removed by Emergency Physicians at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center,” Clevenger said in a release. “At autopsy the following was recorded: ‘Mr. Heffron died as a result of respiratory insufficiency secondary to aspiration of food (so called café coronary).’ The elevated ethanol level may have contributed to the vomiting episode which led to extensive aspiration of food.'”

Heffron’s death has been ruled as accidental.

Heffron collapsed on the bathroom floor at Shipp Residence Hall at Wofford College just after midnight on Sept. 10. Such a sad end to a shining star in the tennis community.  Of course you still will not see nurses playing tennis in the emergency room, http://www.blueskyscrubs.com/categories/Scrubs/.  They keep that to their free time.

This was written in memory of him:
Randall George Heffron, Jr. was born on April 10, 1991 and entered into eternal rest on September 10, 2011. He was the son of Robin Walker Heffron and the late Randall “Randy” George Heffron, DMD. He was the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. W. Howard Walker and the late Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Heffron, Sr. and brother to Walker Heffron, a member of the BEHS Class of 2011 and a member of the freshmen class at Wofford College. Randall attended Mason Preparatory School where he was awarded The Roy Barth Tennis Excellence Award. He was a 2010 graduate of Bishop England High School where he played JV basketball as a freshman and varsity tennis for four years. He served as captain of his tennis team and led them to the state playoffs all four years earning 2010 Player of the Year honors. Randall was the recipient of a 2010 South Carolina Tennis Patrons Foundation Scholarship and The J.C. and Alberta Long and Pinckney Scholarships through the Community Foundation and was entering his sophomore year at Wofford College having earned both Wofford tennis and academic scholarships.

Randall was a member of the Wofford College Tennis Team where, in a short time, he had made significant contributions to the spirit of his team. Coach Ray of Wofford College has commented that Randall was “going to be something …not just in tennis but in life.” Wofford President Bernie Dunlap commented, “He already had made an impression on many at Wofford College.” His teammates have talked about the tremendous elements he brought to their team outside of his athletic ability… his smile, his humor and his heart. Randall was selfless, and more times than not he chose being with friends or helping a friend over himself. He was a good teacher on many levels reminding us often not to “sweat the small stuff” and to look for the bigger picture. His contribution to junior tennis spans beyond his awards as many junior players have shared that they were inspired to play the sport because of Randall and his brother, Walker. He was a good listener, he gave great hugs often, and he leaves a legacy of love to all those who knew him. He was a member of the United States Tennis Association, Intercollegiate Tennis Association and All Saints Lutheran Church.

Randall will be missed by all who knew him but will be sadly missed by his family, which includes his brother Walker Heffron, Juanita Louis, his Godmother and Aunt Terry Byrd and his Godfather Gedney Howe, his cousins: Jonathan Byrd and Family, Jennifer Byrd, Tres Heffron and Family, Jason Heffron and Family, Brent Heffron, Jr., Bradley Heffron, and Emory Heffron, his Aunts: Gaby Tyler, Lindsay Heffron and Ruth Heffron Vernelson (John), and his uncles: Stephan Walker and Brent Heffron, Sr. Randall was preceded in death by his father Randy Heffron and two uncles: Richard W. Tyler and Robert C. Heffron, Jr.

The relatives and friends of Randall Heffron, Jr., are invited to attend his Funeral Service on Saturday, September 17, 2011 in St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church at 2:00 p.m. Burial will follow in Bethany Cemetery. The family will receive friends on Friday, September 16, 2011 from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, 405 King Street, Charleston, SC 29401. Arrangements by J. HENRY STUHR MOUNT PLEASANT CHAPEL.

The family requests memorials may be made to The Randall Heffron Memorial Scholarship Fund at Bishop England High School, 363 Seven Farms Drive, Charleston, SC 29492 or The Randall Heffron Endowed Scholarship Fund, c/o Wofford College, 429 N. Church Street, Spartanburg, SC 29303.

Memorial messages may be written to the family by visiting our website at http://www.jhenrystuhr.com.


To an Athlete Dying Young
by A. E. Housman
The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.
To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.
Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields were glory does not stay
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.
Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears:
Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.
So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.
And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl’s.


4 responses to “Drinking and tennis don’t mix

  1. This is one of the most distasteful and dishonest articles I have read concerning my son’s death. You should be ashamed it is so inaccurate. The Coroner did not say that Randall choked on food he aspirated..he said the ethanol level “may” have caused “a” vomitting episode that lead to the aspiration of food…not necessarily the food that he choked on. His alcohol level is disputable because it was taken so long following death. You need serious help if you find honor in making light and humor of such a tragic death. If you were not such a coward and printed your name or email address I would tell you that myself. Instead I will pray for you…you need a lot of it. God Bless you when tragedy strikes your family. PS. And, let me guess. This is one of those web pages where you print the article but you don’t post the comments. Nice!

    • Robin,
      Not trying to offend, I have also been through college and seen what the parties were like. I think it’s sad to have lost such a good tennis player that was still in the prime of his life. All the information I found was already on the internet from online newspapers about the incident. I wasn’t trying to fabricate any of it. I just wanted to share the story with my readers. I am sorry for your loss.

  2. Isn’t the issue how long it took to get him help?

  3. Yes, that is the issue. Randall’s life could have, NO, should have been saved. If the campus safety had implemented all the years of training they must have had in properly assessing a situation. He had all the signs of someone choking. If they had used the ABC’s of CPR, A is for airway. Randall’s should have been checked. If it was he would still be alive.
    I never met Randall, but I still feel a deep sense of loss for his family and our community..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s