Navy slotback Will McKamey passed away Tuesday evening, three days after collapsing during a Navy spring practice.
McKamey, a sophomore, was going through normal spring drills Saturday morning when he collapsed. He was airlifted to Baltimore Shock Trauma, where he had emergency brain surgery to remove a blood clot and fell into a coma.
McKamey never regained consciousness.
“We are all so very heartbroken by the death of Midshipman Will McKamey,” Naval Academy Superintendent VADM Mike Miller said in a statement released by the school. “This is devastating news for his family, his classmates, his teammates and the entire Naval Academy family. We offer our deepest condolences to Will's family, friends and shipmates in the wake of this tragedy.”
McKamey had brain issues previously. During his senior season at Grace Christian High School in Tennessee, McKamey collapsed during a two-point conversion in his team’s final regular season game. He was airlifted from that game and hospitalized, but he did not undergo surgery.
His family said he saw multiple doctors and had several CAT scans and MRI’s. Even though he signed with Navy in 2013, he sat out from football for nine months and was ultimately cleared for play after doctors couldn't find the source of his initial episode.
The family also issued a statement Monday absolving the Naval Academy or the football program of any wrongdoing. The family stressed that McKamey’s collapse was not the result of a vicious hit or any other unusual impact. It also said Navy would not have knowingly put McKamey on the field if he had not been cleared to play.
McKamey did not record a stat last season.
McKamey was named Mr. Football in the state of Tennessee in 2012 and finished his senior season with more than 2,000 combined receiving and rushing yards and 28 total touchdowns.
The family received an outpouring of support from friends, teammates and classmates, and the Facebook page “Praying For Will McKamey” had more than 13,000 “Likes” by Tuesday morning.
“During this most difficult of times, first and foremost, our prayers and thoughts turn to Randy, Kara and their beautiful family,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said in a statement. “Our deepest and most sincere condolences go out to their entire family and friends. As our Navy football family mourns the loss of one of our brothers, we also celebrate and honor his life. He loved his family, his friends and his teammates. The Brotherhood loves you! Keep the ball "high and tight" in Heaven.”
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