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Kent State starting center dies at 21



CLEVELAND (AP) -- Kent State football player Jason Bitsko, who was slated to start at center for the Golden Flashes this season, died Wednesday.

Police believe he passed away from an undetermined medical issue, the school said. The school said in a release the 21-year-old Bitsko was found unresponsive in the bedroom of his off-campus apartment shortly before 9 a.m.

When Bitsko failed to show up at practice, calls were placed to Bitsko's roommate, who called 911 after finding Bitsko in his bed. Brimfield Police arrived on the scene within three minutes of the call.

Bitsko was in his fourth year with the Golden Flashes. He started all 12 games in 2013, and received an award during this year's spring game for "exemplifying hard work and dedication."

"Kent State University and the entire Kent community mourns his passing," said Joel Nielsen, the school's athletic director. "We are heartbroken by the news of Jason's death. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, teammates and everyone whose lives he touched."

Bitsko played at Huber Heights High School, the alma mater of Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller.

Bitsko's teammates were informed of Bitsko's death at the end of the morning practice.

"Our players, coaches and everyone involved with our team are hurting because he was family," coach Paul Haynes said. "As a team, we will come together and get through this one day at a time."

The school said it is providing counseling services and support to student-athletes and athletic staff members to cope with the tragedy.

The last post on Bitsko's Twitter account - (at)isthatbitsko - was dated Aug. 14:

"There are 86,400 seconds in a day. Make sure you use one of those to thank god for everything you have (hash)stayfocused," it read.

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John Roberson August 20 2014 at 9:54 PM

first the title of the article says there is a suspected cause, but no where in the article does the reporter state any suspected cause. These reporters are so out of control and so ignorant at reporting anything today; it is surprising they passed elementary school much less going any farther.

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11 replies
champ3x7 August 20 2014 at 9:57 PM

This story is probably the only mention of the tragic death of this GOOD young man. Meanwhile, it's Michael Brown, 24-7.

Flag Reply +23 rate up
6 replies
Apple August 20 2014 at 9:59 PM

Very sad, prayers to the family!

Flag Reply +15 rate up
Patience August 21 2014 at 6:12 AM

His comment from just a week ago says it all:
"There are 86,400 seconds in a day. Make sure you use one of those to thank God for everything you have; Stay focused."

May he rest in peace...

Flag Reply +13 rate up
jloschh August 20 2014 at 10:56 PM

to the family, parents of jason accept our prayers and thoughts during this most difficult time. his great spirit will live forever on the campus of kent state.

Flag Reply +11 rate up
Ben August 20 2014 at 9:15 PM

as a KSU grad 1979 my sincere condolences to his family and to the entire KSU football program

Flag Reply +8 rate up
brenhatestwinkie August 20 2014 at 10:48 PM

Rest in peace

Flag Reply +7 rate up
petestrainmail August 21 2014 at 4:28 AM

My condolances to the family.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
imhoffbryan August 21 2014 at 8:15 AM

Deepest condolences to the family and team mates. This young man was following his dream to carry on a deep rich tradition of the sport from his family and was in his prime. Truely a loss to the world

Flag Reply +3 rate up
frankdlu August 21 2014 at 8:02 AM

WHAT A TRAGEDY....GOD REST HIS SOUL...PRAYERS TO HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS...YES THE NEWS REPORTER IS NOT VERY ACCURATE..I DON'T KNOW IF IGNORANT IS THE RIGHT WORD BUT STUPID COMES TO MIND....DON'T SPECULATE ABOUT THE YOUNG MAN'S DEATH UNLESS AN AUTOPSY HAS BEEN PERFORMED. THANK GOD THEY DIDN'T HINT AT DRUGS.. REST IN PEACE JASON.

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