Copyright 2018 Charleston Newspapers
A Bluefield State College men's basketball player died Monday night after collapsing in Bluefield High's gym, the college's athletic director said.
Oritsetimeyin Amatosero-Keke, a 24-year-old from Lagos, Nigeria, who was starting his second year at the college, died at Bluefield Regional Medical Center, according to Athletic Director John Lewis.
College President Marsha Krotseng announced the community-at-large is invited to a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Ned Shott PE Building's parking lot.
"People don't realize, Lewis said. "That when we're recruiting young people it's like our kids, so it's truly a sad day.
"It isn't just men's basketball, I have 10 other sports and it's like we're all one family, and when one of us hurts, all of us hurt, Lewis said.
He said a college basketball gym floor is being renovated, so the school partnered with Bluefield High to have "open gym there. He said "open gym consists of pickup basketball games.
Lewis said an athletic trainer told him that Amatosero-Keke collapsed after a pickup game as he was getting ready to go. Lewis said the trainer told him that students — Lewis didn't know whether they were high schoolers or college students or a combination — saw that Amatosero-Keke wasn't responding and rushed him to the hospital in a car.
The hospital is a mile-and-a-half from the high school. Lewis said the trainer reported that Amatosero-Keke was responsive during the drive.
Lewis said he got the call from the trainer around roughly 8:20-8:25 p.m., though he also said at one point that he got the call around 7:25 p.m., and then said he was unsure of the time. Regardless, he said he arrived at the hospital about a half hour after the call and Krotseng was already there.
He said some pastors and Bluefield Board of Governors members arrived later and they waited for news on Amatosero-Keke. He said he doesn't know what caused his death, but wouldn't be able to reveal the cause anyway due to NCAA rules.
Lewis said Amatosero-Keke was a civil engineering and technology major who only had two years left to get his degree because he was transfer student.
"He was working on his craft everyday, Monday through Friday, throughout the summer, getting ready for the season, Lewis said of his athletic work. He said the team's first game is Nov. 5.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of a vibrant member of our Bluefield State family, Krotseng said.
She said the Rev. Garry Moore and Salvation Army Chaplain Gene Hunt will be available this week to counsel students, faculty and staff. She said they'll be in the PE Building Conference Room (across the hall from the gym).
"We truly lost a first-class student athlete here at Bluefield State College, Lewis said. "So I would hope that everybody would understand and really thoughts and prayers should go out to the family and friends and teammates and campus community.
Read More of Today's AB Headlines
Subscribe to Our Daily E-Newsletter