The morning after celebrating a 44-7 victory over Mississippi State that vaulted them up the BCS rankings, the Arkansas football family found itself grieving a tragic loss.
Freshman tight end Garrett Uekman, 19, was found unconscious and unresponsive in his Fayetteville dorm room at 11:15 a.m. Sunday. He was pronounced dead at Washington Regional Medical Center 55 minutes later.
“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.”
The cause of Uekman’s death had yet to be determined, although university police Lt. Mat Mills said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.
In a statement released through the school, Uekman’s parents, Danny and Michelle, said their son was “living his dream of going to the U of A and playing football for the Razorbacks.”
Uekman’s sudden death is the latest tragedy to befall college sports in recent weeks. The Penn State football investigation surrounding alleged child sex abuser and former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky is ongoing, and last Thursday Oklahoma State head women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna died in a plane crash near Little Rock, Arkansas.