School deals with 'shock and horror' of student death
MORRIS, Minn. -- A memorial service will be held this week for a University of Minnesota-Morris student who died after football players and fans exhilarated by a double-overtime homecoming win pulled down a goal post.
|“||It started out with a few standing or hanging on [the goal post], then a big crowd surrounding it. They rocked it up and down and the metal started to bend, until the point it snapped. ”|
|— University of Minnesota-Morris student Alexander Van Zandt|
Richard Thomas Rose, 20, a junior from Benton City, Wash., who played on the men's basketball team, was pronounced dead at a hospital Saturday after attempts to revive him on the field failed, school officials said. No one else was hurt.
Results of a coroner's investigation to determine the exact cause of death are expected Monday, but Chancellor Sam Schuman said the presumption was that Rose was hit by the goal post.
Patrick Van Zandt, a junior from St. Paul, said he was standing at the front of the stadium when he saw a Morris player grab a sledge hammer from under the bench and uniformed team members run to the goal post.
"It started out with a few standing or hanging on it, then a big crowd surrounding it. They rocked it up and down and the metal started to bend, until the point it snapped," Van Zandt told The Associated Press.
"The crowd cheered. I was looking and then saw someone on the ground with the pole laying on top of them," he said.
Chancellor Samuel Schuman, who also was at the game, said the majority of those involved in pulling down the goal post were fans.
"There may have been a couple of members of the team, but majority were fans. It was not the team," Schuman said.
Van Zandt said it took several people to lift the goal post off Rose.
"They did CPR for at least 10 minutes, then put him on the stretcher and put him in the ambulance," he said.
Morris had just defeated Crown College 34-28 in double overtime and the stands were full, with about 1,000 fans watching the last football game at Cougar Field. The Cougars move to a new stadium next season.
"A lot of us are still dealing with the suddenness of that shift from excited happiness to shock and horror," Schuman said.
"It was maybe the most exciting game we've had on that field in my memory," said Athletic Director Mark Fohl. "It was very exciting and then, very quiet."
Schuman said there would be a memorial service on campus early in the week, but the day and time hadn't been set Sunday night. The school also will offer counseling to students, staff and faculty.
Minnesota-Morris is a public liberal arts school of about 1,700 students in west-central Minnesota, about 135 miles northwest of Minneapolis.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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