DeLAND, Fla. — Nicholas Adam Blakely, a sophomore defensive back for Stetson University, collapsed and died during football practice Monday evening.
University officials said in a statement that Blakely, a 19-year-old accounting major from Lawrenceville, Georgia, was on the sideline when he said he was not feeling well. He collapsed and was taken to Florida Hospital DeLand, where he died.
“(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 coach Roger Hughes broke the news to his players, and counselors are on hand to help the team deal with its loss.
Teammates posted their reaction to Blakely’s death on Twitter.
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. The team was preparing for its season opener at Sacred Heart University on Saturday in Connecticut.
He played both football and ran track at Lawrenceville High School, and his cousin, Kenny Monday, won Olympic medals in wrestling in 1988 and 1992.
The Hatters are planning to honor Blakely with a memorial service, and an informal gathering will be held at Stetson’s Allen Hall on Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Stetson DB Nicholas Blakely collapses during practice, dies – ESPN