Frostburg State University, led by its Student Government Association, will hold an on-campus service in memory of FSU senior Derek Sheely, who died on Aug. 28, in the Lane University Center's Alice R. Manicur Assembly Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m. The entire campus community is invited.
In addition, Derek's teammates on the Bobcat football team are honoring him throughout the season by wearing a helmet decal bearing his initials and his jersey number, 40, and other teams are wearing armbands in his memory.
(Update from Aug. 31)
Frostburg State University is continuing to focus on supporting the family, teammates and friends of Derek Sheely, who died late Sunday night (Aug. 28) after collapsing during football practice on the morning of Monday, Aug. 22.
Derek was a senior History and Political Science major. He was a starting fullback and a two-year All-Atlantic Central Football Conference all-academic honoree. Derek will be posthumously awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Liberal Studies, cum laude.
Following is a message from Derek's family, sent by his mother shortly after his death:
"It is with heavy hearts that we must inform our dear family and friends that our beloved son, Derek Thomson Sheely, passed away moments ago after a courageous fight. We want to thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers. They’ve meant so much to Ken, Keyton, me, and especially Derek. We’re incredibly proud of Derek. He’s all one could hope for to have in a son/brother and more. He’s never run from a challenge and he fought this with everything he had. Please, if you can, go to Derek’s Facebook page and post a note on his wall. Or text us. It would mean so much to us. – The Sheelys"
Funeral services for Derek are being held Thursday, Sept. 1, at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Gaithersburg, Md. Additional efforts to honor Derek's memory are in the planning stages.
All of us at Frostburg State University send our deepest condolences to Derek’s family, teammates and friends, and we ask everyone to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Once medical professionals make a final determination as to the circumstances of Derek’s untimely death, the University will review such findings as may be available to us, as well as our existing procedures to ensure that FSU is following every contemporary and appropriate standards regarding athletic practices.
That morning’s practice included contact drills with the players in full gear. At some point during the practice, Derek displayed symptoms requiring attention. The athletic training staff made a quick assessment. They were beginning to escort him from the field when he collapsed. Trainers immediately called 911. He was then transported by Maryland State Police medevac helicopter to the local emergency room at Western Maryland Regional Medical Center, then later in the day transferred to R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. He died there late Sunday night (Aug. 28).
From our players’ standpoint, we continue to stress to them the importance of reporting any injury to the trainers, no matter how small it may seem. Before the season, we conduct computerized impact testing that provide us with individualized, baseline information, which is used in case of injury. Players are not allowed to practice or play until their readings return to an appropriate level.
Our coaching staff continues to observe practice situations. We encourage sportsmanlike play both during practice and games. We encourage the students seeing the training staff if any possible injuries have occurred. Our helmets were selected based on the results of a Virginia Tech study that examined the concussion protection afforded by different brands of football helmets.
Derek was wearing a 2011 Schutt DNA Pro Plus helmet and full gear. The weather was moderate.
We continuously review our procedures to ensure that FSU is taking the appropriate steps to protect the safety and well-being of our student-athletes.