Northwest Alumnus Dies Following Collapse in Practice
2007 graduate Derek Sheely was a senior at Frostburg State University.
Former Northwest High School football player Derek Sheely died late Sunday, almost a week after collapsing during a football practice at Frostburg State University, a hospital official confirmed Monday morning.
Sheely, 22, passed away shortly before midnight at R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he had been since Monday, Aug. 22, hospital spokeswoman Cindy Rivers said.
"We’re incredibly proud of Derek,” the Sheely family said in a statement. “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."
Sheely graduated from Northwest in 2007. He transferred to Frostburg after attending a year at Penn State University. Sheely has been a member of the Bobcats' program since 2008 and was a 2010 All-Academic selection for the Atlantic Central Football Conference. He was poised to be the team's starting fullback this season.
"We send our deepest condolences to Derek’s family, teammates and friends, and ask you to keep them in your thoughts and prayers," said Frostburg President Jonathan Gibralter in a statement released by Frostburg.
Sheely was a member of the Jaguars' 2006 team that went undefeated in the regular season and finished 12-1 overall after a loss to Sherwood in the state semi-finals.
"We are very saddened by Derek Sheely's passing,” Northwest athletic director Jim Tapley told Patch in an email Monday. “He was a super person. I went to see Derek and the family at the hospital on Saturday. It was so sad to see him that way. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the parents and the rest of their family."
Sheely's mom, Kris, is the junior varsity field hockey coach at Northwest.
"This is all very devastating," Northwest principal Lance Demspey said Monday morning. "There are no words that can express the sense of loss and sadness."
In the meantime, friends and football fans have been gathering virtually at local sports website MoCoFootball.com, to share their memories of Sheely.
"His love for football is evident with his decision to attend Frostburg and join his friends to play collegiate ball," said MoCoFootball.com founder Michael Cornejo, also a Northwest graduate. "I'm going to miss talking Northwest and MoCo Football with him."
Another poster on the site wrote: "I can hardly type much less speak. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends."