Sadly, there will be no happy ending for the already-tragic situation that developed over the weekend at the U.S. Naval Academy.
The Navy confirmed in a release sent out late Tuesday night that running back Will McKamey passed away earlier in the day at Baltimore Shock Trauma. McKamey collapsed during a spring practice session Saturday afternoon and was airlifted via helicopter to the emergency medical facility, where he underwent surgery on his brain. McKamey had been in a coma since shortly after collapsing.
He was just 19 years old.
“During this most difficult of times, first and foremost, our prayers and thoughts turn to Randy, Kara and their beautiful family,” said Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo in a statement. “Our deepest and most sincere condolences go out to their entire family and friends. As our Navy football family mourns the loss of one of our brothers, we also celebrate and honor his life. He loved his family, his friends and his teammates. The Brotherhood loves you! Keep the ball ‘high and tight’ in Heaven.”
McKamey’s collapse Saturday was the second on-field incident the running back has suffered the past two years; during his high school days, he suffered a similar episode during a game. McKamey missed the Tennessee high school playoffs in 2012 due to the first incident, but was still named the state’s Mr. Football that year.
In a statement sent through the Navy sports information department Monday, the family stated that their son had “been seen by four different neurosurgeons and had 4-6 CAT scans and MRI’s to rule out any issue and clear him for contact.”
“I want to be clear that the Navy football program nor us as his parents would have ever allowed him to be in a dangerous situation,” the statement emphasized.
The family stated that “Navy coaches… poured through the films of practice” prior to McKamey collapsing and found nothing out of the ordinary. Three days later, McKamey was dead.
“We are all so very heartbroken by the death of Midshipman Will McKamey,” said Naval Academy Superintendent VADM Mike Miller. “This is devastating news for his family, his classmates, his teammates and the entire Naval Academy family. We offer our deepest condolences to Will’s family, friends and shipmates in the wake of this tragedy.”
McKamey did not play as a true freshman for the Midshipmen as a true freshman in 2013.
Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to McKamey’s family, friends, teammates and coaches as they deal with this tragedy.
(Photo credit: Navy athletics)