University of Arkansas Football Player Uekman Dies at Age 19

University of Arkansas Football Player Garrett Uekman
Arkansas tight end Garrett Uekman, seen here greets fans after an NCAA college football game in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Sept. 10, 2011. Photographer: Danny Johnston/AP Photo

University of Arkansas football player Garrett Uekman died of unknown causes yesterday, the school said on its website. He was 19.

Uekman, a tight end who played in nine games for third-ranked Arkansas, was found unconscious and unresponsive yesterday morning in his room at the school’s campus in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He was pronounced dead about an hour later at Washington Regional Medical Center, the school said.

“Garrett’s loss is a terrible shock for the University of Arkansas and the Razorback program,” Athletic Director Jeff Long said in a statement. “Our sincere condolences go out to his family and to all of those who knew him. He will be missed by many friends, teammates and others throughout campus.”

University Police spokesman Matt Mills said while the cause of Uekman’s death isn’t yet known, the circumstances aren’t considered suspicious. Uekman was seen playing video games by a roommate at about 10:15 a.m. local time and appeared to be in good health, the school said. Another roommate found Uekman unconscious about an hour later, and he was in cardiac arrest when emergency services personnel arrived.

Uekman’s body will be sent to the state medical examiner for an autopsy, which Mills said is standard procedure for any unattended death.

Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino informed the team of the redshirt freshman’s passing yesterday afternoon.

“His loss is a terrible shock, and it makes you realize how precious life is,” Petrino said. “Garrett was a great teammate and loved being a Razorback.”

Petrino said the team plans to honor Uekman, a native of Little Rock, Arkansas, who was majoring in applied exercise science. Arkansas, which has a 10-1 record and moved up to third in the Bowl Championship Series rankings yesterday, is scheduled to visit top-ranked Louisiana State on Nov. 25 in its regular-season finale.

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