Garrett Uekman, a promising 19-year-old college football player at Arkansas Razorbacks, was found dead in his dorm by a roommate yesterday.
Garrett Uekman was last seen in “good health” playing video games by a flatmate yesterday morning, but less than an hour later another roommate found him unconscious.
The teenager was declared dead shortly after, THV reports.
Garrett Uekman was “living his dream” of going to the University of Arkansas and playing tight end for the Razorbacks, his devastated family said.
He was said to have been “beaming from ear to ear” in Arkansas’ win against Mississippi State in his hometown of Little Rock less than 24 hours before his death.
Garrett Uekman had played in nine games during the current football season for his beloved team.
Paramedics arrived at the Northwest Quad residence hall in Fayetteville at 11:20 a.m. and found the student-athlete in cardiac arrest, but several attempts to revive him failed, the report says.
Garrett Uekman was pronounced dead at Washington Regional Medical Center at 12:10 p.m.
University Police Lt. Matt Mills told THV that the cause of Garrett Uekman’s death is not known at this time, but there are no suspicious circumstances.
His body is being sent to the State Medical Examiner for an autopsy.
The grieving parents Danny and Michelle Uekman said: “Our son was living his dream of going to the U of A and playing football for the Razorbacks.
“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.”
David Estes, the football coach at Little Rock Catholic where Garrett Uekman played in high school, said he was “beaming from ear to ear” on Saturday night in Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium as the Razorbacks defeated Mississippi State 44-17.
“Garrett was any parent or coach’s dream,” David Estes said.
“He was one of those special kids and had a passion for everything. He loved Catholic High, loves UA and wanted to be a Razorback forever. He got to live that dream.”
A Facebook group set up in Garrett Uekman’s memory has already got 1500 members and tributes on social networking sites have been flooding in.
Members of the Razorback football team held a meeting this afternoon where the player’s death was announced.
“Garrett Uekman was a special member of our family, and we are all saddened by his passing,” Bobby Petrino, the head football coach said.
“His loss is a terrible shock, and it makes you realise 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 honour and show our respect to Garrett.”
Lt. Matt Mills said he expected to have more information on the cause of the death today.
Garrett Uekman was a sophomore majoring in applied exercise science in the College of Education and Health Professions.
According to the Razorbacks website, 6ft 4in tall Garrett Uekman was regarded as one of the top prospects in the state and was ranked as the No. 23 tight end in the nation and the No. 5 recruit in the state of Arkansas.