Kevin Copeland, a 17-year old football player at Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, collapsed on the playing field during a game against San Pedro High Friday night and died of cardiac arrest at San Pedro Peninsula Hospital.
Copeland's father, Ron, an NCAA hurdles champion and a football star at UCLA, died in 1975 at the age of 28. He suffered a heart attack only one week after his father, Kevin's grandfather, had died of heart disease.
Kevin Copeland, an All-City selection as a wide receiver last season and considered a top college propect, reportedly collapsed while talking to a Dorsey coach. He apparently had suffered no injury.
Hospital emergency personnel tried for 45 minutes to resuscitate him, nursing supervisor Jean Sammons said.
Paramedics were sent to Daniels Field in San Pedro, site of the game, at 8:30 p.m., a Los Angeles City Fire Department dispatcher said. Copeland was pronounced dead of cardiac arrest at 9:20.
The game was called off after Copeland collapsed.
The Los Angeles Police Dept. reported that several students "became emotional and passed out" when they returned on the buses to Dorsey High. Several ambulances were dispatched to the school. About 40 students were examined, but none were hospitalized.
Copeland was also a track star at Dorsey and was a member of the state champion 400-meter relay team.
Ron Copeland, who graduated from UCLA in 1969, played one year with the Chicago Bears. His pro football career was cut short because of hypertension and high blood pressure.
The senior Copeland later became an assistant track coach at Mt. San Antonio College. He collapsed after running a challenge race against a team member on May 22, 1975.
A month after Ron Copeland's death, his widow, Millicent, gave birth to the couple's third son, Kyle Eric. Kevin was 3 at the time, and his older brother, Ron Jr., was 5.
Ron Jr. is now a sophomore at USC and a hurdler on the track team. He was the L.A. City champion in 1987 while at Dorsey.
Kevin Copeland's death is believed to be the first by a Los Angeles City high school football player since 1974.
Ken Smith, an All-City running back for Gardena High, died in November of that year, 12 days after injuring his knee in a game against Narbonne. He underwent surgery and never regained consciousness after going into a coma because of post-operative complications.
Earlier the same year, Phillip Clark, a Locke football player, died from an aneurism, and a Canoga Park junior varsity player died of a heart attack.
Times staff writer Larry Stewart contributed to this story.