A New Jersey high school athlete died in Georgia while riding an ATV the night before Thanksgiving.

Matthew Carlson, 16, of Spotswood, was riding a side-by-side vehicle in Sparta when he lost control, overturned and was ejected around 11 p.m., according to a preliminary investigation by the Georgia State Patrol.

A family member drove him to a hospital, which flew him to a larger facility in Augusta, where he died Thanksgiving morning.

The trooper's report obtained by the Union-Recorder said he was riding a 2020 Can-Am Maverick X3 on private property in a tight circle, or making "donuts." He was not wearing a restraint.

Carlson was a sophomore at Spotswood High School, where he played basketball and varsity-level baseball, according to his obituary.  He hoped to attend Vanderbilt University and continue playing at the Tennessee school.

Funeral is Friday

Zoned Sports Academy, a baseball and softball developmental training facility in Bridgewater, honored Carlson's memory with a video made of images from players, coaches and parents.

"As we look to honor his life, remember that every day is a blessing. Do today what your future self will thank you for later," the Academy said.

Visitation for Carlson is Thursday from 5 until 9 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Church, Manalapan Road in Spotswood. His funeral is 10:30 a.m., Friday at the church.

Carlson is the second New Jersey high school athlete to pass away over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Kenneth Posy, 19, of Rahway, a member of the Rahway High School Class of 2022, died in a car crash in Rahway Sunday. He was a member of the boy's basketball team.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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