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God Bless McCollum Umeh


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  • God Bless McCollum Umeh

    Please pray for McCollum Umeh and his family. The coroner is still investigating his death but is very suspicious of HCM. I can only offer my knowledge, my support, love & prayers. I hope that you can echo my sentaments.

    Recruit's death shakes UA

    Andrew Bagnato
    The Arizona Republic
    Jun. 9, 2004 12:00 AM

    TUCSON - By dusk, shadows swathed the University of Arizona football practice field where McCollins Umeh collapsed Tuesday afternoon. On one sideline, a coaching tower with "Bear Down" stenciled on the base stared out across the empty expanse.

    Five hours earlier, the field was the scene of tragedy as Umeh, a prized 18-year-old UA recruit, collapsed at approximately 1:25 p.m. during a voluntary workout with teammates. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound defensive end was taken to University Medical Center, where he died at 2:24 p.m., according to UA police spokesman Sgt. Eugene Mejia.

    A light shone Tuesday night in the nearby UA football offices, but no one there was talking. An aide said head coach Mike Stoops was "absolutely broken up" over the death of Umeh, who backed out of a commitment to Kansas State to take part in Stoops' rebuilding project here.

    Stoops declined to speak Tuesday but is expected to address the media this afternoon.

    Little was known about Umeh, who had arrived Monday from his home in Houston, where he starred at Klein Forest High School.

    "It's easy to say he was a great player, everybody knew that," Gene Johnson, Umeh's high school coach at Klein Forest High School, told the Tucson Citizen. "He was also a tremendous person."

    In a statement issued by the athletic department, Athletic Director Jim Livengood said, "All our thoughts and prayers are with McCollins' parents. There is no easy way to describe how devastating this tragedy is to the family and to the entire university community."

    Reached at his home Tuesday night, Livengood declined to expand on the statement.

    "There's no way to put it in any more perspective," he said. "We just need a lot more information, and we'll get it."

    Although the NCAA does not permit practices with coaches in June, Division I-A squads commonly stage heavily attended voluntary workouts. Livengood told the Citizen that UA strength coaches and training staff attended the workout, as required by the NCAA.

    It was 96 degrees at the time Umeh collapsed, according to the National Weather Service's Web site.

    The UA police department said Umeh was "receiving treatment when officers arrived and was then treated by responding Tucson fire personnel." Officials did not speculate on possible causes of death, which will be determined by the Pima County Medical Examiner.

    Umeh's death evoked uneasy memories of the summer of 2001, when three professional and major college football players died within a few weeks. Minnesota Vikings tackle Korey Stringer, Northwestern defensive back Rashidi Wheeler, an asthmatic, and University of Florida freshman Eraste Autin all died during or after workouts, Stringer and Autin of heatstroke.

    Umeh's death is not the first tragedy for UA, either. Tight end Damon Terrell died of complications Sept. 7, 1995, nearly a month after collapsing with dehydration during the first day of preseason conditioning.

    Umeh's death cast a pall over an athletic department invigorated by Stoops' arrival and excited by the baseball team's run in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats baseball team worked out for three hours Tuesday afternoon on a diamond near the field where Umeh took his last steps.

    "Your heart aches for his family, his teammates, and for the program," UA baseball coach Andy Lopez said. "No words can explain this. This is not supposed to happen in life."

  • #2
    Re: God Bless McCollum Umeh

    Regardless of the cause of death, our hearts go out to the family and friends of this young man. Here in China he would still be called a boy and even a child, which I think puts it in a better perspective in some ways. His parents lost a child. Any brothers and sisters lost their closest childhood buddy. His high school friends lost a childhood friend. And we are all saddened for all of them for the loss of a young man at the beginning of manhood.



    • #3
      Re: God Bless McCollum Umeh

      Rhoda, you said that very well.


      Husband has HCM.
      3 kids - ages 23, 21, & 19. All presently clear of HCM.


      • #4
        Re: God Bless McCollum Umeh

        My prayers are with him and his family.

        Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
        YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

        Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
        lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
        Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
        Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
        Currently not obstructed
        Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)


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