Greenbrier High School Mourns After Student-Athlete’s Drowning

Photo of Robert Dwight Ballard, Jr.
Photo of Robert Dwight Ballard, Jr.

Evans, GA (WJBF) – Monday proved to be a sad start to the school week at Greenbrier High School, as students returned from the weekend without one of their classmates.

When the Greenbrier High School Wolfpack returns to the football field, it’ll be without #29 – Robert Ballard, Jr.

“From a football perspective, these young men are like my kids. Robert was like a son to me,” said Head Football Coach Tony Kramer. “It’s tough for everybody. It really is.”

The 16 year old star athlete drowned at Clarks Hill Lake over the weekend while trying to swim to an island. Investigators say his girlfriend tried to rescue him, but she kept being pulled under and couldn’t help any more.

Coach Kramer went to the scene when he got word of what happened. “They [students at the scene] were in a state of shock, in disbelief.”

Kids who are now mourning the loss of their classmate. “He’s an incredible young man. Great in the classroom.”

And their teammate. Robert ran track and played cornerback and wide receiver.

“We had some big plans for him. Very gifted athlete.”

An athlete who’ll be missed on and off the field.

Great to his peers and that’s what I’m going to miss most about him. It’s just being able to talk to him.”

Now, Coach Kramer says it’s about conversations of comfort.

“My job right now is to be there for the kids, be there for the family, and collectively we’ll work through this together.”

A vigil is set to be held at the Greenbrier football stadium to honor Robert Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. following the soccer game.

Robert’s autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.

The family has also set up a GoFundMe account to help with funeral expenses.

 

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