Some details have emerged in a very sad and tragic story involving a former member of the Clemson football program.
Late Wednesday night, Clemson confirmed that ex-Tigers running back C.J. Fuller had died at the age of 22. The Clemson Insider was the first to report that Fuller passed away due to complications from a seizure. TMZ.com subsequently confirmed that “Fuller’s brother called 911 after the RB collapsed to the ground and told the operator it appeared he was having a seizure.”
The latter website further reported that Fuller had attended a physical therapy session in the hours prior to his death. Fuller suffered a knee injury playing flag football two weeks ago, the gossip website reported, and Wednesday, the day of his death, was his first therapy session after undergoing surgery late last month.
Fuller went to physical therapy for the first time on Wednesday (10/3) as part of his recovery and completed a full session without issue.
When he arrived back to his home, we’re told he “went to the ground” and asked for water — clearly feeling something was wrong.
People close to C.J. called for an ambulance and he was rushed to a nearby hospital. He was pronounced dead a short time later.
The Daily Mail obtained the audio of the 911 call made by the family:
In an interview with the Anderson Independent Mail, Fuller’s aunt indicated that her nephew was experiencing chest pains in the days leading up to his death.
“He had been having some chest pains before that day, but they got worse fast,” Zola Fuller Beeks stated. “He was conscious at one point, but when he got to the hospital, his speech was slurred. Before we knew it, he was gone.
“We think it had something to do with a blood clot, but you just don’t expect someone his age to be gone so fast.”
An autopsy will be performed on Fuller, although no foul play is suspected. The results of that autopsy likely won’t be released for another 6-8 weeks.
Fuller’s death came a little less than two months after he had returned to classes and graduated from the university.
“Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies are with C.J.’s family,” head coach Dabo Swinney said in a statement. “I’ve known C.J. a long time and watched him grow up through the Easley rec leagues all the way through Easley High School. I’m proud of what he accomplished as a Clemson Tiger, most of all, his accomplishment of being a Clemson graduate. Our deepest condolences and the thoughts of our program are with his family this evening. May he rest in peace.”
Following the 2017 season, Fuller left the team as a graduate transfer. In late March, Fuller, who was expected to continue his collegiate playing career at another program, was one of three individuals charged in connection to an alleged armed robbery in downtown Clemson.
Last season, Fuller, who began the year as the starter, was fifth on the Tigers with a career-high 217 yards and three touchdowns. He finished the Tigers portion of his playing career with 599 yards and four touchdowns on 147 carries, as well as 18 receptions for 155 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
One of those touchdown catches came in the College Football Playoff semifinal win over Ohio State in 2016. The Tigers went on to win the national championship that season.