UA player Uekman found dead

By: Matt Jones
Published: November 20, 2011 at 2:56 p.m. - Updated: November 20, 2011 at 8:42 p.m.
Arkansas tight end Garrett Uekman runs on the field with team mates Saturday, Nov. 19, at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
Arkansas tight end Garrett Uekman runs on the field with team mates Saturday, Nov. 19, at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

— Garrett Uekman, a redshirt freshman football player at the University of Arkansas, died Sunday. He was 19.

Uekman was found unresponsive by a teammate at approximately 11:17 a.m. Sunday in his dorm room at the Northwest Quad residence hall, according to a release through the UA athletics media relations department.

Paramedics arrived three minutes later and found Uekman in cardiac arrest, according to the release. He was taken to Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville, where he was pronounced dead at 12:10 p.m.

UA Police Department spokesperson Matt Mills said the cause of Uekman's death is not known and his body will be sent to the State Medical Examiner for an autopsy this week.

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino reacts to the death of Razorbacks freshman tight end Garrett Uekman Sunday night.

Bobby Petrino - Garrett Uekman Death

Video available Watch Video
Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long reacts to the death of Razorbacks freshman football player Garrett Uekman Sunday night.

Jeff Long - Garrett Uekman Death

Video available Watch Video

“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. Garrett was a great teammate and loved being a Razorback.

"My sympathies are with his entire family during this incredibly trying time, and I share in their grief. Our team will honor and show our respect to Garrett.”

News of the tight end's death came just hours after the team returned to Fayetteville from a game against Mississippi State at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, Uekman's home town.

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Arkansas redshirt freshman Garrett Uekman died Sunday, according to reports. + Enlarge

Uekman graduated from Little Rock Catholic High School for Boys in 2010. He verbally committed to play for the Razorbacks prior to his senior season in high school and redshirted his first season at Arkansas last fall.

He played in the fourth quarter of Arkansas' 44-17 win Saturday and had appeared in eight other games this season.

“Our son was living his dream of going to the U of A and playing football for the Razorbacks," the Uekman family said in a statement. "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."

Uekman was last seen responsive by a roommate at approximately 10:15 a.m. Sunday while playing video games in his dorm room, according to the release.

Arkansas football players were informed of the death at a team meeting Sunday afternoon. Several football players took to social media website Twitter to express their condolences.

Among them, running back Knile Davis said, "Garrett Uekman rest in peace my brother. Watch over us as we continue to chase the dream (you) started with us. I love (you) and will forever miss (you)."

Added offensive guard Grant Cook, "RIP Garrett.. I am thankful for the opportunity to have you in my life! I will always remember the times we had together. I love you buddy!"

The UA release stated counselors were made available to the football team Sunday.

"The well-being of our student-athletes is at the very core of our mission and when a tragedy like this happens it is a tremendous loss to the entire campus community," UA athletics director Jeff Long said. "We will work with various campus services to provide support for the Uekman family, our student-athletes, coaches and staff during this difficult time.”

The No. 3 Razorbacks will play at No. 1 LSU on Friday.

Rachel Hood contributed to this report

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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