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Panthers press pause on head coach search as Charlotte FC mourns loss of Anton Walkes

Our hearts go out to Anton Walkes’ family, friends and teammates.

SOCCER: AUG 03 MLS - DC United at Charlotte FC Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

All activity around the Carolina Panthers coaching search has been halted this weekend, including several scheduled interviews, as the team joins Charlotte FC in mourning the passing of 25-year-old defender Anton Walkes.

Walkes died after a boating accident yesterday in Florida, per the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Charlotte FC owner David Tepper said, in a statement yesterday, that “Anton made those around him better people in all areas of life and represented Charlotte FC to the highest standard both on and off the pitch. He will be greatly missed by many and our thoughts and prayers are with Anton’s family during this heartbreaking time.”

Our hearts go out to his family, his friends, and his team.

Details on the accident are appropriately scarce at this time. This is a matter of public safety for the Fish and Wildlife commission and of unspeakable tragedy for Walkes’ family.

As with any tragedy, same as with Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest on Jan. 2, the details don’t have to be precise for it to be a good time to remind people that CPR saves lives. We don’t know if CPR was administered promptly after this accident and we don’t know if it would have made a difference, but it does make a difference in thousands of other cases and bystander CPR remains the best chance anyone has to survive a sudden cardiac arrest, whether due to physical trauma or some other medical event.

The American Heart Association offers CPR training courses near you, both in-person and online. You can use this webpage to see what kind of course you might want to take and this tool to find an in-person class in your area.

And on a personal note, I can never recommend highly enough the use of personal flotation devices on the water and always having a means to promptly contact emergency services. We don’t know if that would have made a difference for Walkes and I can never know if it would have made a difference in my life, but it’s best to put safety first and never have to find out.

Again, our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of Anton Walkes in the coming weeks.