Aspiring Winona State football player dies during workout

  • Article by: DENNIS BRACKIN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 23, 2014 - 12:51 AM

Shawn Afryl was taking part in a voluntary workout Monday night.

A former University of Illinois football player hoping to play his final collegiate seasons at Winona State University collapsed and died Monday night at the Minnesota school.

Shawn Afryl, 22, was taking part in a voluntary strength and conditioning workout on a practice field Monday evening when he collapsed, according to Winona State associate head coach Cameron Keller. Keller said school officials had not been told a cause of death, but Afryl’s ex-high school coach, Curtis Tate, told the Chicago Tribune he died from cardiac arrest. He spent Tuesday with Afryl’s family, the paper said.

Keller said no coaches were present, because of NCAA rules. But the program’s strength and conditioning instructors were present, and administered CPR until paramedics arrived, the coach said. He said the conditioning staff members are trained in CPR.

Although temperatures reached 90 degrees Monday in Winona, Keller said that medical personnel have not discussed heat as a factor with school officials, and Keller noted that Afryl collapsed shortly after the start of the evening workout.

Afryl’s mother, Susan, wrote Tuesday on the website www.gofundme.com — she successfully raised more than $20,000 in pledges to help with Shawn’s burial costs — that her son was practicing at Winona State, where he had received a scholarship for the coming season. “His goal was to become a teacher of history and coach in a high school setting. My heart is aching … the pain is devastating. He had the biggest heart in the world, and was a leader with kindness of soul. He was, and is, my hero. “

Afryl’s photo was displayed on the home page of the University of Illinois athletics website, with messages from his former Illinois coaches and teammates. Afryl, who was listed at Illinois as a 6-3, 310-pound offensive lineman, redshirted one season with Illinois and was active for two other seasons, playing in only one game. He took off the 2013 season — leaving him with two seasons of eligibility — and graduated with a degree in political science in August of 2013.

Afryl, despite his limited playing time, was clearly popular with his Illinois teammates.

“Shocked and saddened to hear the news of Shawn Afryl’s death. Was one of the best people you could ever meet,” junior tight end Jimmy Nudera wrote in a tweet.

“Speechless about Shawn Afryl’s death. Great teammate and a great person,” tight end Matt LaCosse tweeted.

Illinois coach Tim Beckman called Afryl “a great teammate and a dedicated student” in a statement on the school website.

Keller said Winona State knew of Afryl because the Minnesota program has recruited several other players from the Niles West area, and the WSU staff had built a relationship with the high school. Afryl had moved to Winona a month ago and was scheduled to begin summer classes in education to achieve his goal of becoming a teacher and high school coach.

Winona State recently hosted its annual one-week teams camp for local high school football programs, which attracted almost 700 kids, Keller said. Afryl worked as a counselor during the camp, and Keller said WSU coaches caught a glimpse of Afryl’s personality

“We really got a chance to see his passion for football, and how excited he was to teach young people,” Keller said. “Our kids were really starting to take to him — he was already a part of our family. Obviously, everyone is extremely devastated by the loss.’’

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 8 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 5 FINAL
Baltimore 4
Toronto 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2 FINAL
Cleveland 4
San Diego 3 FINAL
Seattle 4
Chicago WSox 6 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Kansas City 13 FINAL
Texas 2
Oakland 9 FINAL
San Francisco 2
Wisc-Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Milwaukee 8
Arizona 6 FINAL
Colorado 3
Univ of Minnesota 1 FINAL
Minnesota 3
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 105
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Orlando 100
Cleveland 120 FINAL
Toronto 112
Utah 84 FINAL
Boston 85
Charlotte 115 FINAL
Brooklyn 91
Denver 100 FINAL
Minnesota 85
Detroit 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
LA Lakers 94 FINAL
Miami 100
Philadelphia 118 FINAL
Oklahoma City 123
Memphis 102 FINAL
Houston 100
Sacramento 85 FINAL
San Antonio 112
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
Golden State 102
Portland 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Ottawa 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 2
Pittsburgh 1 FINAL
Colorado 3
Montreal 1 FINAL
Anaheim 3
Longwood 65 FINAL
Presbyterian 61
Campbell 64 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 80
Ohio State 77 FINAL
Penn State 67
Maine 66 FINAL
Albany 83
Duquesne 81 FINAL
Fordham 66
George Washington 67 FINAL
George Mason 51
Tennessee 78 FINAL
LSU 63
Notre Dame 71 FINAL
Louisville 59
SE Missouri St 74 FINAL
Morehead State 79
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Mount St Marys 58
Hartford 63 FINAL
New Hampshire 67
Wagner 68 FINAL
Robert Morris 91
Long Island 70 FINAL
St Francis-NY 79
La Salle 50 FINAL
Saint Josephs 55
Providence 79 FINAL
Seton Hall 66
UCF 45 FINAL
South Florida 74
Binghamton 57 FINAL
Stony Brook 62
UMBC 39 FINAL
Vermont 66
Sacred Heart 85 FINAL
Bryant 91
Richmond 56 FINAL
Massachusetts 53
Wake Forest 51 FINAL
Duke 94
Purdue 66 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Miami-Florida 67 FINAL
Pittsburgh 63
St Bonaventure 64 FINAL
Saint Louis 48
New Mexico St 69 FINAL
TX-Pan American 48
Houston 68 FINAL
Tulane 63
Howard 62 FINAL
NJIT 71
TCU 70 FINAL
Oklahoma State 82
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
Tulsa 47
USC 74 FINAL
UCLA 85
Miss State 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Utah State 53 FINAL
Wyoming 76
St Johns 67 FINAL
Marquette 51
SIU Edwardsville 66 FINAL
Eastern Ill 78
Air Force 66 FINAL
Fresno State 68
Nebraska 57 FINAL
Illinois 69
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Nevada 62
Boise State 68 FINAL
San Jose St 51
San Diego St 60 FINAL
UNLV 58
Oregon 65 FINAL
Oregon State 62
UC Santa Barbara 98 FINAL
Hawaii 90
Toledo 64 FINAL
Northern Ill 68
Wake Forest 69 FINAL
Boston College 53
Eastern Illinois 35 FINAL
UT Martin 68
Austin Peay 69 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
NC State 56
Massachusetts 55 FINAL
St Bonaventure 49
Auburn 71 FINAL
Florida 49
Penn State 63 FINAL
Indiana 68
Clemson 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 80
Davidson 63 FINAL
La Salle 74
Loyola-Maryland 46 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Boston U 48 FINAL
Colgate 58
Coll of Charleston 58 FINAL
James Madison 107
Delaware 76 FINAL
Elon 77
Drexel 58 FINAL
Northeastern 42
Hofstra 75 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 76
Towson 56 FINAL
William & Mary 68
Miami-Ohio 55 FINAL
Akron 67
Ball State 85 FINAL
Central Michigan 69
Buffalo 55 FINAL
Bowling Green 47
Western Mich 65 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 74
Ohio U 69 FINAL
Kent State 56
Youngstown St 62 FINAL
Cleveland State 73
Illinois-Chicago 54 FINAL
Wright State 74
Alabama 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Detroit 60 FINAL
Milwaukee 56
Purdue 58 FINAL
Wisconsin 56

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close