The family of Jermain Stephens, the Division II offensive lineman who died earlier this month, says he died of a blood clot to his heart after contracting COVID-19.
Stephens' mother, Kelly Allen, told Nikki Battiste of CBS Sports that she's worried about the young athletes who are returning to their campuses for fall sports.
"I'm very, very nervous for these young men and women. ..., their lives are priceless. And it's just not worth it. It's not worth it," Allen said.
Stephens played football at California University of Pennsylvania, which suspended its fall sports calendar in July. It is unclear how he contracted COVID-19, which has killed more than 195,000 people and infected more than 6.6 million in the United States, but Allen said Stephens returned to campus to work out with his teammates. The school is not conducting official workouts.
Heart issues are among the many complications of the novel coronavirus, which can have long-lasting effects even in the event of non-fatal infections.
Stephens' family is offering a warning of the potential complications facing student-athletes, as the Big Ten and Pac-12 reconsider their decision to postpone the 2020 fall season and several other major conferences continue play. LSU coach Ed Orgeron told reporters Tuesday that he thinks that "most" of his team has had COVID-19.
"Sports give us a release. Right. You know, it gives us freedom from all of this drama...we are not in a state of mind with it all to make the right decision," Stephens' father, Jamain Stephens, said. "And as you know, we're sitting here right now talking about the loss of my son because we took the risk."