Southern Indiana player collapses in game, dies [Archive] - SEC Sports Forum | SEC Basketball | SEC Football


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01-15-2010, 08:22 AM
OWENSBORO, Ky. Southern Indiana center Jeron Lewis died late Thursday after collapsing on the court during a game at Kentucky Wesleyan, school officials said.

Lewis, 21, fell under the basket with about 4 minutes left, said athletic department spokesman Ray Simmons. Lewis was rushed to Owensboro Medical Health Center, where he died just before 10 p.m.

"The play was under the basket. The ball was rebounded, we were on defense, and the next thing I knew most everyone knew all of a sudden the officials start blowing whistles, and Jeron was motionless with the trainer from Kentucky Wesleyan," Simmons told The Associated Press. "They started giving him treatment, took him to the medical center. That is where he passed away."

Simmons said he had no details about what may have caused his death, and the school scheduled a press conference for Friday afternoon.

Messages were left early Friday seeking comment from the Kentucky Medical Examiner and Daviess County coroner.

The 6-foot-8, 260-pound Lewis was in his second season with Division II Southern Indiana, averaging 12.8 points and 8.0 rebounds. The Eagles won Thursday night's game, 74-69.

Simmons said Lewis had a "great sense of humor and a soft touch with kids."

Lewis, from Fort Wayne, Ind., where he led the state in rebounding as a high school senior, is survived by his infant son, fiancee, mother and sister.

"The university community is heartbroken with the passing of this outstanding young man," university president Linda Bennett said in a statement late Thursday. "Jeron was an excellent example of a student athlete who strove to be the best that he could be. He will be truly missed, not only by his teammates, but by the university community. Our prayers are with Jeron's family in their time of need."

Lewis' death was reminiscent of the passing of former Loyola Marymount star Hank Gathers, who collapsed on the court during a West Coast Conference tournament game on March 4, 1990, and was pronounced dead about 1 1/2 hours later.

very sad. Made me immediately think of Hank Gathers, who they end up mentioning in the end of the article.

01-15-2010, 08:38 AM
I saw reports from the ABC, NBC, and Fox affiliates in Evansville, and they say he hit his head hard on the court at the Sportscenter in Owensboro. The Fox report showed the young man was grimacing shortly before the fall. The autopsy will give us a better indication whether or not it was the head hitting the floor that caused the death. The USI coach got on the PA and asked the fans to pray for the young man.

Certainly a tragic incident, and right now, it rivals Hank Gathers. What is more tragic is that he just had a son just a few weeks ago in Ft Wayne, and he'll never know his father. Let's lift up the family in Ft Wayne and his USI family for comfort.

01-15-2010, 08:38 AM
This is such a tragedy. I am so sorry to hear it.

01-15-2010, 11:56 AM
Read about it in the paper. Really sad. It is the kind of thing you never want to happen at a sporting event. It sucks that he had a new family.

01-15-2010, 02:06 PM
Daviess County Coroner says heart condition contributed to Lewis's death, not a head injury.

01-15-2010, 03:10 PM
Really kind of puts things like the USI/KWC rivalry in perspective.

I haven't been in the Sportscenter for a while, and probably won't be in it again for a while, but I just can't help but thinking there will be a cold feeling about the place.

01-15-2010, 07:37 PM
That's terrible and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

01-15-2010, 08:46 PM
Tragic story.

01-16-2010, 05:12 PM
Has the medical world not developed an inexpensive, minimally-invasive technique to detect this medical condition?