A Bluefield State College basketball player, Timeyin Amatossero-Keke, collapsed and died after open gym on campus on Monday night, school officials said.
Amatossero-Keke of Lagos, Nigeria was pronounced dead at Bluefield Regional Medical Center, Bluefield State spokesman, Jim Nelson, told MetroNews.
“During the open gym, he finished at about 8:40 or so, he went to the sidelines to take his shoes off and he sat down and collapsed,” Nelson said.
His teammates contacted BSC Athletic John Lewis and rushed Amatossero-Keke to the hospital just a few miles away, Nelson said.
“He immediately got treatment at Bluefield Regional Medical Center. Our athletic trainer was with him through the process. They were unable to save his life,” Nelson said.
The 6’5″ Amatossero-Keke was well-known on the small campus.
He was an junior academically and a sophomore in basketball eligibility status.
He was an electric engineering technology major and had the highest GPA on the Big Blues team.
The basketball team’s Facebook page said: “Timeyin had a strong mind and just wanted a chance to play collegiate basketball.”
He was also active in the community, having participated in the Lemonade Festival in Bluefield last weekend and an international student welcome event in recent days.
“He had a ready smile, was very academically proficient and a steadily improving basketball player, as well,” Nelson said.
Students were notified of the death by email Tuesday morning.
Nelson said the college is offering several opportunities for counseling.
“This is a tragedy at any college but particularly at a small school where folks know each other by name and connect on a really close basis. It really hits close to home,” Nelson said.
A candlelight vigil is set for 7pm Tuesday in the campus parking lot.
Amatossero-Keke’s parents live in Nigeria but he does have some relatives in the US.
Bluefield State had no specifics on what may have caused his death.
A BCS baseball player was killed in a traffic crash involving the team in Florida in the late 1990s, Nelson said.
“For it to happen twice at one small college is just an eerie reminder of the transience of life and how precious life is and it’s something that cuts deep at a very small campus,” Nelson said.
Amatossero-Keke was 25.