On Aug. 28 in Bald Head Island, junior Tyler Wentz went bodysurfing with friend junior Schuyler Purdy and his grandfather.  After riding a wave back to shore, Purdy and his grandfather realized that Wentz was not with them.  Wentz was found unconscious in the water and was given CPR until the paramedics arrived.

Wentz was air-lifted to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, N.C.

While at the hospital, it was discovered that Wentz had developed an infection in his lungs and that pressed the doctors to put him on an ECMO machine to aid his breathing. Wentz was heavily sedated to help his body heal faster.  

At one point Wentz was taken off of the sedatives to allow his body to get a good sleep.  He was able to wiggle his toes and fingers and he even managed to open his eyes and look at his father Trey Wentz.

“This was the most awesome feeling a father could have,” said Trey Wentz.

Four days after his accident, Wentz experienced kidney problems and was put on dialysis to filter his blood and bodily fluids. The next day, Sept. 1, Wentz was showing good progress and the levels on his ECMO machine were lowered.

On Sept. 2, complications arose when Wentz developed another infection and had to be put on an antibiotic.

Wentz’s family and friends remained optimistic from the beginning and created a hashtag for social media, #TeamTyler, to show support for Wentz and his family.

Wentz’s mother, Michelle Wentz, stayed with Tyler and kept him company during his time in the hospital.

I want to always talk to him, read him books, hold his hand, anything to make him feel like he is safe and not alone,” said Michelle Wentz on the Tyler Wentz caringbridge.org website.

On Sept. 10, Wentz encountered another issue as fluid kept filling his lungs.  

“They [the doctors] drained a bunch of fluid out earlier this evening and saw some initial progress but his stats have been declining again,” said Natalie Reddell, Purdy’s mother on Sept. 10.

By Sept. 12, Tyler Wentz was experiencing problems with both his lungs and his liver.

On Sunday, Sept. 13, Tyler Wentz passed away.

“Tyler has fought an amazing fight, but Trey and Michelle have called to say that he is making his way to Heaven today. Please pray for his peaceful passing and for his family,” said Reddell.

Since the day of the accident, Godwin students have showed an incredible amount of support for Tyler and his family.

A banner for Tyler was created, and students signed it with messages of hope and support to send to Tyler and his family.

Students created a memorial outside of the school in which they decorated posters, brought teddy bears and flowers, and mourned the loss of their friend.

On Sept. 16, a candlelight vigil was organized by Godwin students. Students brought candles and shared stories of their friend.  It was a celebration of his life.

Ten days later, a memorial service was held for Tyler at Tuckahoe Little League.


On behalf of the Godwin Eagles’ Eyrie, we would like to express our deepest sympathies with the Wentz family and all of Tyler’s friends.



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