Stetson University sophomore defensive back Nicholas Blakely collapsed and died during practice on Monday evening. He was 19 years old.
According to university officials, Blakely was on the sideline and said he was not feeling well before collapsing. He was taken to Florida Hospital DeLand, where he passed away. However, not much is known about the exact cause of Blakely’s death at this time.
“[Blakely] had just started practice, and he had complained he was not feeling well, so he was sidelined to rest and at some point he stood up and said he was still not feeling well and collapsed there on the field,” said Janie Graziani, assistant vice president for marketing media relations at Stetson. “An ambulance was called and he was taken to the hospital and passed away. All we know at this point is he complained he wasn’t feeling well.”
Stetson head coach Roger Hughes was forced to break the unfortunate news to his players. Counselors are now helping the team through its loss as well. Teammates of Blakely have since taken to Twitter to post their condolences in regards to the loss of their friend.
Everyone is so important. Tell everyone close to you that you love them. Love you nick, all for you. #RIP37
— Shane Parton (@S_parton7) August 29, 2017
God bless you, Nick Blakely. You were such a great guy to be around, making everyone around you better. This year's for you brother. #RIP37
— Jonny Messina (@JonnyMessina) August 29, 2017
Blakely redshirted last season and never played in a college football game. He was a versatile athlete, playing both football and running track for Lawrenceville High School in Georgia. He is the cousin of Kenny Monday, who won Olympic gold medals in wrestling in 1988 and 1992.
Stetson, which was preparing for its season-opener against Sacred Heart University this Saturday, will honor Blakely with a memorial service.