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Appalachian State student dies of COVID-19 complications
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Appalachian State student dies of COVID-19 complications

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Chad Dorrill basketball

Ledford High School's Chad Dorrill (10) competes in a dunk contest in April 2019  at North Davidson High School.

An Appalachian State University student has died of complications from COVID-19.

The university and multiple media outlets identified the student as Chad Dorrill, 19, a sophomore who was majoring in exercise science. Dorrill had lived in Davidson County and graduated from Ledford High School in 2019.

The Watauga Democrat newspaper, citing a friend of Dorrill, reported on its website that he died Monday night at Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem. The newspaper also reported that Dorrill had seemed very tired over the past two weeks but was otherwise healthy.

In an email Tuesday afternoon to the Appalachian State University community, Chancellor Sheri Everts said Dorrill had been diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier in September. He had been living off campus, was taking his classes online and came home after he began feeling sick. 

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Everts said Dorrill returned to Boone after his doctor cleared him to leave isolation. But after Dorrill suffered complications, his family brought him to a hospital.

"The hearts of the entire Appalachian community are with Chad’s family and loved ones during this profoundly difficult and painful time," Everts wrote in her email. "Tributes shared by friends and loved ones show the positive impact Chad had on the communities he loved and called home, which included App State and Boone. ...

"His family’s wishes are for the university to share a common call to action so our entire campus community recognizes the importance of following COVID-19 safety protocols and guidelines."

Emily Lipe, Davidson County Schools superintendent, said in a statement that Dorrill was an all-conference basketball player at Ledford and had gone to Appalachian State to study to become a physical therapist, WGHP-TV and other media outlets reported. Dorrill also played basketball for the Piedmont Pacers, a Kernersville club that won a U.S. Specialty Sports Association national title in 2018.

Appalachian State has 159 active cases of COVID-19 among its students, according to the university's COVID-19 dashboard. It has recorded 628 cases among students, employees and contract workers since late March, a number that includes 46 new cases among students Tuesday.

Dorrill's death is believed to be the first connected to COVID-19 among Appalachian State students or employees.

Contact John Newsom at (336) 373-7312 and follow @JohnNewsomNR on Twitter.​

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