ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — There are still no answers about what caused the deadly collapse of a Navy football player during practice. Will McKamey, 19, died last week after he slipped into a coma. Now his fellow midshipmen are trying to cope with the loss.
Meghan McCorkell has more on how the team is honoring him.
The Navy football team is back on the field this week, but they are still mourning the loss of one of their own.
The Navy football team is used to hard hits on the field, but now they’re dealing with a tough blow off it.
“Coming here after everything that happened, it’s pretty rough. It just brings you back to what happened,” said Kyle O’Connor, Navy football.
On March 22, running back Will McKamey collapsed on the practice field. He died three days later at Maryland Shock Trauma from a brain bleed. Though he’d had a history of head injuries, coaches say the 19-year-old didn’t take any hard hits before he fell.
“It was hard enough that a young man passed away, but not knowing what happened makes it doubly hard,” said Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo.
Coaches call McKamey a model midshipman who always had a smile on his face.
Two busloads of classmates at the Naval Academy made the eight-hour trip to Knoxville to attend McKamey’s funeral.
“He was my best friend. And he’s not with us now, but he’s always there somewhere,” said Jack Brodowicz, Navy football.
The team had adopted the motto “I Will” for the 2014 season in honor of their teammate.
“It’s kind of symbolic of each of us will do the best we can to remember Will by the things we do,” Coach Niumatalolo said.
The hashtag “Live Like Will” is also making rounds on Twitter.
“Just be like Will because he was such a good guy. So I just want to be like him,” O’Connor said.
Now the team is focusing on the fall and thinking about that first game.
“It’s going to be different, but he’ll definitely be there with us,” Brodowicz said.
McKamey will be a constant presence in the hearts of all his brothers.
The head coach of Army’s football team also traveled to Knoxville for McKamey’s funeral.
McKamey was hospitalized after a serious head injury in high school, but doctors had cleared him to play football again.
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