Updates from Tuesday, March 25
Navy's official sports website confirmed that Will McKamey passed away at the age of 19 on Tuesday:
“We are all so very heartbroken by the death of Midshipman Will McKamey,” said Naval Academy Superintendent VADM Mike Miller. “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.”
Midn McKamey was an Oceanography major in 3rd Company, and he was member of the varsity football team.
“During this most difficult of times, first and foremost, our prayers and thoughts turn to Randy, Kara and their beautiful family,” said Ken Niumatalolo, USNA Head Football Coach. “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.”
Funeral arrangements are pending, and more information will be provided as it becomes available.
The Naval Academy will continue to support Will’s family, friends, and loved ones during this time of grief.
Navy freshman football player and Third Company member Will McKamey is in a coma after collapsing during practice Saturday in Annapolis, Md.
According to The Baltimore Sun's Don Markus, the 19-year-old slotback was airlifted off the practice field after taking a hit and underwent surgery for a brain clot at Maryland Shock Trauma Center not long after.
Both of McKamey's parents took to social media to update Will's status Saturday night. His mother, Kara, posted the following statement on Facebook:
Friends and family, it is difficult to even send updates at this point as my body and mind just feel numb. I will try my best to keep everyone posted because I know you all love us and your prayers are so needed and appreciated. As of now Will is showing very little response. He is in a coma currently. In the past several hours since surgery we are seeing some very small improvements and reactions to light etc. We are hanging on to every small thing. We know those small improvements are a DIRECT result of the prayers going up to our Heavenly Father. Please continue praying for his body to fight to recover! We are once again amazed at the love and support of our Grace family, our friends, and loved ones. This time around we also have an Amazing Navy family that have shown an overwhelming pouring in of love and prayers as well! I say the more prayer warriors the better! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
On Sunday the family provided another update on McKamey's condition (via collegefootballtalk.com):
There is no new news. We still have only small responses from Will. Our entire family appreciates each and every one that has reached out to us. The photos of Will, the support, the prayers, seeing everybody rally around us has been unbelievable. It amazes me how this one kid is touching so many…from coast to coast. Our God is using Will for a huge platform right now. I know many of you wish you could be here with us, but know that the Navy family has stepped in for our Knoxville family and they are providing an unbelievable support system. Pray for the Navy football players and coaches as well, they are all here and doing everything in their power to pull Will through.
McKamey's father and high school football coach, Randy, also asked for prayers and support:
All I can say is Just pray!— Randy Mckamey (@CoachMckamey) March 22, 2014
Not sure I have the strength to go through this again. Will is in surgery to remove pressure from a hit sustained during Navy practice today— Randy Mckamey (@CoachMckamey) March 22, 2014
I have no words to express my gratitude for the prayers. Wills situation is still not good. Please pray harder than ever before for healing.— Randy Mckamey (@CoachMckamey) March 23, 2014
Bill Wagner of CapitalGazette.com later reported McKamey's status following surgery:
Latest report on Navy football player Will McKamey late last night was that he was breathing on his own, which is an encouraging sign.— Bill Wagner (@BWagner_CapGaz) March 23, 2014
The Naval Academy released a statement Saturday, per NavySports.com: "The entire Naval Academy family is shaken by the turn of events and we are providing all the support we can to Will and his family."
A former standout at Grace Christian Academy in Knoxville, Tenn., McKamey was a two-time All-State selection and was also named Class A Mr. Football for the state of Tennessee as a senior in 2012, per NavySports.com.
According to Markus, McKamey experienced a similar event during a game back in 2012, when he collapsed during a two-point conversion. Afterward, McKamey spent several days in an intensive care unit in a Chattanooga hospital. He avoided surgery, but his high school playing career ended as a result.
In 2013, McKamey made appearances in junior varsity games at Navy.
WBIR-TV sports reporter Patrick Murray, who covered McKamey during his high school career in Knoxville, took to Twitter to praise McKamey and encourage support:
Praying for the McKamey family. Will is a great guy trying to serve his country and play the sport he loves. pic.twitter.com/wH5KF3vaz6— Patrick Murray (@PatMurrayWBIR) March 23, 2014
According to WBIR.com's John Henry, McKamey's church, Grace Baptist, held a prayer service Saturday after learning of his situation.
McKamey's scary situation highlights one of the hot-button issues in football today: the risk of head and brain injury. In addition to actual games, full-speed contact in practice presents a major risk to players' safety.
Incidents similar to this one could potentially lead to reform or changes in how college football programs conduct their practices.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.