Just a week after the death of Alabama offensive lineman Aaron Douglas, there is, heartbreakingly, the passing of another Div. 1-A college football player on which to report.
While the details are very sketchy right now, multiple media outlets are reporting that Oklahoma linebacker Austin Box died Wednesday.
NBC News affiliate KFOR in Oklahoma City is reporting that Box was found unresponsive at a home in El Reno (Okla.) late Wednesday night. He was mediflighted to a local hospital and later pronounced dead.
The Enid News, Box’s hometown paper, reports that Box was taken to Mercy Hospital in El Reno and was later transported to an Oklahoma City Hospital. That paper also reports that Box was found unresponsive, although they report that event occurred today and gave no word on his condition.
As of yet, there’s been no confirmation from the school.
Box started six games the past two seasons. On the Sooners’ most recent depth chart, he was listed as the starter at middle linebacker.
Again, our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those impacted by Box being taken away from them way, way too soon.
UPDATED 4:09 p.m. ET: Both OU President David L . Boren and athletic director Joe Castiglione have confirmed Box’s death, and issued statements to the Daily Oklahoman.
“The University family is deeply saddened by the tragic death of student-athlete Austin Box. Our hearts go out to his family and friends,” Boren’s statement read.
“Austin Box will be greatly missed by his many friends and teammates in the Athletics Department and all across campus,” Castiglione said. “Grief counseling is being made available to members of the team and his close friends.”
The paper also reports that head coach Bob Stoops is currently traveling overseas.
And, as if this situation weren’t tragic enough, Box had just earned his college degree this past weekend. Damn.
UPDATED 5:23 p.m. ET: Details are beginning to emerge into the death of Austin Box, and, unfortunately, they are adding a great deal of sadness to an already tragic situation.
According to the initial report from the El Reno police department, the officer responding to a 911 call made from the residence in which Box was found unresponsive made contact with John Cobble III. Cobble, who made the initial call to 911 and is the son of Box’s high school coach, told the officer “he believed [Box] had overdosed.” Additionally, under the “Offense Category”, the responding officer noted “Controlled Dangerous Substance”.
Cobble performed CPR on his friend until help arrived.
UPDATED 6:26 p.m. ET: Head coach Bob Stoops, who is currently overseas, has issued a statement regarding Box’s death.
“We’re all shocked and heartbroken. Austin was a great young man, a great young man to coach and a great teammate. He played an integral part in our success the last three years and was looking forward to a big senior year. As heart-wrenching as this is for us, we know it’s even more difficult for his family. More than anything, our thoughts and prayers are with them.”