August 30, 2011

Frostburg State player dies

More news about: Frostburg State
Derek Sheely
Derek Sheely had started 20 games in a row at fullback for Frostburg State.
Frostburg State athletics photo

Derek Sheely, who was about to start his senior season at Frostburg State, died Sunday night, apparently from injuries suffered on the practice field. He was 22.

Sheely, an academic all-conference honoree two years running, was set to start at fullback for the Bobcats for the third consecutive season before he collapsed during football practice on Monday, Aug. 22. He had been in intensive care at R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore since early examinations revealed the extent of his injury, believed to be severe head trauma.

"Coach (Tom) Rogish told me that Derek was one student he never had to worry much about because he excelled both in the classroom and on the football field," Frostburg State president Jonathan Gibralter said in a campus-wide email.

"We're incredibly proud of Derek," the Sheely family wrote to Gibralter, sentiments which were widely reported to be shared in Gibralter's message. "He's all one could hope for to have in a son/brother and more. He's never run from a challenge and he fought with everything he had."

The family also wanted it to be known that Derek Sheely did not have a heart condition. "We're not blaming anybody; that isn't our mission right now," Ken Sheely, Derek's father, told The New York Times. "But hopefully, somebody does make sure that if there's a lesson to be learned and it can help protect somebody else, then that should be done. I wouldn’t want my son to just die in vain, and if something can be made better, through education or equipment or whatever it is, that would be helpful."

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