Skip to comments.Arkansas football player found dead in room
Posted on 11/20/2011 7:06:21 PM PST by kcvl
(CNN) -- University of Arkansas authorities say they see no "suspicious circumstances" surrounding the death of a 19-year-old football player who was was found dead in his room Sunday.
Garrett Uekman, a sophomore tight end for the Razorbacks, was found unconscious and unresponsive in his room about 11:15 a.m., the university said in a written statement Sunday afternoon. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful, and he was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital shortly after noon.
A roommate last saw Uekman playing video games about an hour earlier, "and he appeared to be in good health," the university said. An autopsy will be performed.
"The cause of Uekman's death is not known at this time, but there are no suspicious circumstances," the statement said.
Uekman, of Little Rock, "was living his dream of going to the U of A and playing football for the Razorbacks," parents Danny and Michelle Uekman said in a statement released through the school. He appeared in nine games for the 10-1 Arkansas squad this season.
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. Its hard to fathom anything that would overshadow a college football programs biggest game in more than four decades yet thats exactly what has happened this week in Arkansas.
Arkansas Razorbacks players, coaches and fans have spent the week mourning the loss of Garrett Uekman, a 19-year-old redshirt freshman tight end who died Sunday of an undiagnosed enlarged heart less than 24 hours after playing in a 44-17 win over Mississippi State.
The shocking news shifted focus from the No. 3 Hogs impending showdown Friday at top-ranked Louisiana State a game with national title implications for both teams while the team and fans grieved.
Arkansas players are determined to rally around the loss of their teammate for the high-stakes regular-season finale at Tiger Stadium.
A team with something to play for can be dangerous, but a team with someone to play for is unstoppable, Brey Cook, a freshman offensive lineman for the Razorbacks, posted on Facebook on Sunday night.
In a week of unanswered questions, though, the Razorbacks have been silent, canceling all scheduled news media opportunities until after the game. The team was present at an emotional candlelight vigil in a basketball arena with several thousand mourners, a ceremony that included moving eulogies of Uekman by his teammate Austin Tate and Coach Bobby Petrino.
Fans and players are replacing Woo Pig Sooie the legendary Hog Call cheer with W88 Pig S88ie, a tribute to Uekmans No. 88. Everyone, it seems, will be carrying Uekmans memory into Fridays game.
This year, L.S.U. enters a regional and conference rivalry, termed the Battle for the Golden Boot since 1996, as the unstoppable team, undefeated and ranked No. 1.
The Razorbacks can take a huge step toward a national championship by beating L.S.U. on Friday.
This is why were here, Petrino said. This is what we want to do. This is what its all about, go play in huge games with a lot at stake.
For Arkansas, it would be a win for the ages.
A win for Uekman.
To the outside world we will take the field without number 88, Petrino said at the vigil. They could not be more wrong. Garrett will be there, planted firmly in the heart and soul of every Razorback that takes the field, sits in the stands or watches on TV.
He is part of us and will be forever. He would have wanted us to compete. He would have wanted us to play passionately with everything we have. With your support, we will do just that.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A heart condition that likely was undiagnosed killed the University of Arkansas football player who was found unconscious in his dorm room over the weekend, a coroner said Tuesday.
Washington County coroner Roger Morris said that to the best of his knowledge, Garrett Uekman’s condition, called cardiomyopathy, was not previously detected. In the condition, the heart becomes enlarged.
Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long has said the university wasn’t aware of any pre-existing medical condition for Uekman. A university spokesman declined comment because school officials hadn’t yet seen the written report.
Uekman’s toxicology report came back with no indications of improper drug use, Morris said. He said the manner of death was natural. University police have said there were no suspicious circumstances about Uekman’s death.
There are several types of cardiomyopathy, though it wasn’t clear which type Uekman suffered from, Morris said. One kind, called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, thickens the heart and makes it harder to pump blood, and is often the culprit when young athletes suddenly collapse and die. Symptoms can include an irregular heartbeat and shortness of breath. In many cases, it goes undetected.
“This young man may have not shown any signs (being) in that great of physical shape,” Morris said.
With cardiomyopathy there is such a thing as compensation for the weak heart. This can be a rapid pulse, high blood pressure, and the retention of fluids, but they also end up causing the heart to enlarge more. Weightlifting can also cause the heart to enlarge. Eventually the heart can’t keep up and the compensation ends. In the best case this leads to profound weakness and shortness of breath, or sudden cardiac arrest, which sadly in too many cases is the first noticed symptom.