Arkansas backup TE Uekman dies
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas’ football team was in mourning Sunday following the death of backup tight end Garrett Uekman.
The university said Uekman was pronounced dead at Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville on Sunday afternoon.
The cause of death wasn’t immediately known, but the university said Uekman was found unconscious and unresponsive in his dorm room on campus at approximately 11:15 a.m. Sunday. He was last seen playing video games by a roommate approximately an hour earlier.
When emergency services personnel arrived, Uekman was in cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at 12:10 p.m.
“Garrett Uekman was a special member of our family, and we are all saddened by his passing,” Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said in a statement. “His loss is a terrible shock, and it makes you realize how precious life is.”
University police Lt. Mat Mills said there were no suspicious circumstances about Uekman’s death, and his body will be sent to the state medical examiner for an autopsy.
The 19-year-old Uekman redshirted last season for the Razorbacks and played in nine games this season. He was majoring in applied exercise science.
Uekman’s parents, Danny and Michelle, released a statement through the university.
“Our son was living his dream of going to the U of A and playing football for the Razorbacks,” the statement read. “He loved his school, his coaches, and his teammates and classmates, and was an influence and inspiration to so many people. We ask for your love and prayers for Garrett, our family and his friends as we all cope with this heavy and painful loss.”
David Estes, the football coach at Little Rock Catholic where Uekman played in high school, said he was told by Arkansas running backs coach Tim Horton that Uekman had been found by his roommate in his dorm room on campus. Estes said he watched Uekman play and was “beaming from ear to ear” Saturday night in Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium as the Razorbacks beat Mississippi State 44-17.
“Garrett was any parent or coach’s dream,” Estes said. “He was one of those special kids and had a passion for everything. He loved Catholic High, loves UA and wanted to be a Razorback forever.
“He got to live that dream.”
The No. 3 Razorbacks (10-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference) play at No. 1 LSU on Friday.