COYLE — Gary Myers wasn't a starter for the Coyle football team, but he always worked like one.
Same with anything he did — basketball, baseball, academic bowl.
For that reason, the high school sophomore's death Monday night leaves quite a void not only on the teams he competed with, but in the tight-knit community of Coyle.
“Gary worked hard every day, and he had every reason in the world not to play, but he was out there for the friendship and being part of a team,” Coyle football coach Shane Weathers said.
Myers, 15, was diagnosed Saturday with meningitis, which quickly spread to his spinal cord and then his brain, taking his life Monday night.
Many cases of meningitis are contagious, but Myers' case was not.
Becky Coffman, an epidemiologist at the state Health Department, said the agency is not currently investigating any meningitis cases in Oklahoma. Under state law, agency employees cannot comment on specific cases.
“People are alarmed when they hear the word ‘meningitis,'” Coffman said. “In Oklahoma, the types of meningitis that we investigate are the ones that require that people around that person receive antibiotics as a precaution.”
The infection struck quickly. Myers was suited up for the Coyle football game Friday night before being hospitalized Saturday.
“He was at our game Friday night, jumping around, just being ol' Gary. Upbeat and happy,” Weathers said. “We heard on Saturday that he was sick and was going to the hospital. He was just such a tough kid, everybody knew he'd get through this.
“We're a really close family, our whole team. When we announced it, it hurt really bad. The dressing room was completely quiet.”
Services will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at Coyle's old gymnasium, not the new gym the school built last year.
“The family wanted to have it there,” Weathers said, “because that's the gym he played in.”
Jaclyn Cosgrove contributed to this report.