The Mountain Pointe High School and Phoenix College product's voice was alarming enough for his mother to call his K-State position coach, Mo Latimore, asking if he would check in on her son.
Three days later, July 31, Latimore was back on the phone with Sharon, telling her that her son had been involved in an automobile accident and was dying.
Bates was returning to his apartment from what was called a light workout. An autopsy revealed that the muscular 20-year-old had passed out due to an undiagnosed Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), a thickening of the heart for no apparent reason.
Bates' heart weight was 680 grams, or more than three times the size of a normal heart. Bates fell victim to the same disease that claimed the lives of basketball players Hank Gathers and Reggie Lewis.
"I guess how I look at it is the Lord felt Anthony had to have a big heart to handle all the goodness he demonstrated," said Snyder.
He added, "Regardless of your faith, you have to ask why? But some people put more life into 20 years
than others do in 80 years. It told his mother, there was enough affection and passion in their relationship
to last a lifetime."
But Snyder added, "That one hit us a little differently. We had 20-year-olds all around who knew it could have been them. It was a time when all of us rallied around the Bates family."
A service was help for Bates on August 5 at the All Faith's Chapel.
At the ceremony, teammate Jonathan McGraw played a violin solo.
"Having faith in God, and knowing Anthony, I know things are under control," McGraw said. "It shows you how fragile and temporary life is, but knowing Anthony, he's in heaven. For me that makes it a easier to handle."
Bates was an active kid who had played football since he was 9, as well as many other sport involving a ball.
Each year he would go through a standard sports physical. When he had surgery on his finger in his senior year of high school, an EKG was performed, but no hint of HCM was found. Sharon Bates would learn that HCM is a genetic heart disease that forms in the heart muscle, typically during adolescence. The surest way to detect the disease is through an echocardiogram of the heart.
Soon after her son's death, Sharon Bates founded the Anthony Bates Foundation in an effort to promote heart health and education through fund raisers and events.
"I needed to heal," Mrs. Bates said, "This was a very unfair thing for a parent to go through, and I want to prevent it from happening to others."
She promoted free cardiac screening events in Kansas, Arizona, and Nevada, targeting young student-athletes aged 14 and older.
She says of her mission, "With education there is power, with power comes life."
"She has attacked this mission with as much persistence as I ever have put into the game of football," said Snyder.
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