Stetson football player collapses, dies during practice

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By: CBS News
August 30, 2017

DELAND, Fla. (CBS) -- A 19-year-old from Georgia collapsed and died during football practice at a Florida university Monday.

Nicholas Adam Blakely collapsed on the sidelines during an evening practice after he complained of not feeling well, Stetson University officials said in a statement.

The accounting major from Lawrenceville, Georgia, was taken to Florida Hospital Deland, where he died.

Coach Roger Hughes broke the news to his team, and counselors were on hand to help them deal with the loss.

"Obviously, right now our immediate focus are the needs of Nick's family, and friends, and the needs of the Stetson community at large," Hughes said in a news conference Tuesday.

Teammates described Blakely as someone who will truly be missed on campus, CBS affiliate WKMG-TV reports.

His teammate, Gaven Defilo, said Blakely had an "infectious smile" and he could "light up a room no matter what kind of day you were having."

"He was a great teammate, a great person, and he will be missed every day," he said in the news conference.

Blakely was a sophomore defensive back who was redshirted last season and had never played in a college football game. He attended Archer High School, which is northeast of Atlanta.

The team was preparing for its season opener at Sacred Heart University on Saturday in Connecticut. Practice was cancelled Tuesday and flags were flown at half-mast across campus.