Aledo High School junior Ricky Standifer died last weekend from a condition similar to a brain aneurysm, his parents wrote in a Facebook post Monday night.
The condition, an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), is rare – affecting around 200,000 people a year – and had likely been present since Standifer's birth, Michael and Cindy Standifer wrote in their Facebook post.
"After extensive testing the neurologist discovered that he suffered an AVM (similar to an aneurysm)," the Standifers wrote. "This was something that he has most likely had since birth and there was no way anyone could have known. Because he was in such good physical condition, we stood in faith, believing [in] God for a miracle."
Standifer complained of a "severe headache" Saturday morning and collapsed shortly after, his parents wrote.
"Saturday morning, he was suffering from a severe headache. We decided to take him to the ER but he collapsed suddenly, [and] we went straight to the hospital where he was put on life support," the Standifers wrote.
Standifer was taken off life support and was declared dead Sunday, Cindy Standifer said in a phone interview with the Democrat.
The Standifers made the decision to donate their son's organs to "give the gift of life... to many others."
"We've come to realize that the miracles we prayed for are coming in the gift of life that Ricky is able to give to many others through organ donation," the parents wrote.
Aledo ISD Superintendent Derek Citty described Standifer as "a kind, hard-working student" who played right tackle on the football team and started school in the district in 2016.
Before coming to Aledo, Ricky had been a Weatherford ISD student since kindergarten, Cindy Standifer said.
Standifer had an active circle of friends and a girlfriend with whom he enjoyed camping, bowling, going to the movies and making trips to his family's lake house.
"He was big into football, and he loved to hang out with his friends. They did all sorts of stuff together," Cindy Standifer said. "We have a lake house where we spend a lot of time in the summer. He had a girlfriend he met there, and they were very close. He would work mowing lawns around our neighborhood to save money to take her out on dates."
Counselors are available for any Aledo ISD student or staff member who needs them, Citty said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, no funeral or memorial services had yet been announced, though Cindy Standifer said the family was planning for a Saturday service.