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Dave Alston

Football ∙ Midland

 

 

 

 

Dave Alston was an amazing athlete who won lasting fame in his home county (and considerably beyond) in spite of the fact that his career and life were tragically ended by a blood clot at the age of 20. In four years at Midland high school (1937-1941), he earned a record 12 letters: four letters each in football, baseball, and basketball. Dave then received a football scholarship to Penn State and the 6-foot--200-pound halfback led the 1941 freshman team to five straight wins. The following summer, Dave was taking summer courses at Penn State when doctors decided that he should have his tonsils removed at Centre Country Hospital in Bellefonte, near State College. The tonsillectomy was performed at 9am on August 15, 1942, and seemed to be successful, but a blood clot unexpectedly formed an hour later and blocked the oxygen supply to his lungs. Dave died at 11:45am after both of his lungs collapsed. Bob Higgins, head football coach at Penn State at the time, described Dave Alston as “the greatest football prospect I ever coached, and the first player I have seen who had all the qualities that made Jim Thorpe an all time great.” There could be no finer tribute to any athlete.