Kent State University football player dies unexpectedly - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Kent State University football player dies unexpectedly

Kent State student-athlete Jason Bitsko. (Source: Kent State University) Kent State student-athlete Jason Bitsko. (Source: Kent State University)
Jason's tweet continues to inspire many. (Source: Twitter) Jason's tweet continues to inspire many. (Source: Twitter)
KSU's famous rock on front campus was painted in Jason's memory. (Source: Kent State Athletics) KSU's famous rock on front campus was painted in Jason's memory. (Source: Kent State Athletics)
KENT, OH (WOIO) -

Kent State University mourns the loss of student-athlete Jason Bitsko, who died unexpectedly on Wednesday, Aug. 20. 

Bitsko was found unresponsive in the bedroom of his off-campus apartment shortly before 9 a.m. Police believe he passed away from an undetermined medical issue.

Bitsko, 21, was set to begin his fourth year on the team and would have been the starting center for this coming season. He started all 12 games in 2013 and was recently selected to the Phil Steele's Preseason All-MAC Third Team. Bitsko graduated from Wayne High School in Huber Heights, OH, and was studying marketing.

"Kent State University and the entire Kent community mourns his passing," said Joel Nielsen, Kent State's director of athletics. "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."

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

Calls were placed to Bitsko's roommate after he failed to show up for morning practice. The roommate called 911 after finding Bitsko in his bed. Brimfield Police arrived on the scene within three minutes of the call.

Bitsko received the Gerald and Victoria Read Award during the annual Spring Game in April for exemplifying hard work and dedication beyond the call of duty.

Members of the football team were told of Bitsko's passing during the end of the morning practice. All remaining football activities on Wednesday were canceled.

Bitsko continues to inspire others who look to his last tweet from Aug. 14:

There are 86,400 seconds in a day. Make sure you use one of those to thank god for everything you have #stayfocused

Plans are in the works for Bitsko's teammates to attend his funeral.

The university is providing counseling services and support to all student-athletes and staff members within university athletics as they deal with this loss. Counseling is always available by contacting Psychological Services at the DeWeese Health Center at 330-672-2487. Counseling and support are also available through the Counseling and Human Development Center in White Hall and the Psychological Clinic in Kent Hall.

The team asks that media members respect the privacy of the players, coaches and athletics staff during this time of mourning.

Those paying tribute via social media are asked to use #KSUJason54.

Copyright 2014 WOIO. All rights reserved.

Top Story

special

CONNECT WITH US

Updated:

Connect with Cleveland 19! More>>

  • Seen on 19Seen on 19More>>

  • Powerball jackpot up to $535M, drawing Saturday

    Powerball jackpot up to $535M, drawing Saturday

    Thursday, August 17 2017 10:00 AM EDT2017-08-17 14:00:30 GMT
    Friday, August 18 2017 2:46 PM EDT2017-08-18 18:46:47 GMT
    (Source: WOIO)(Source: WOIO)

    No one matched the winning Powerball numbers on Wednesday August 16, 2017, increasing the next jackpot to $535 million for Saturday night's drawing.

    More >>

    No one matched the winning Powerball numbers on Wednesday August 16, 2017, increasing the next jackpot to $535 million for Saturday night's drawing.

    More >>
  • LOOK HERE: 2017-18 School start dates

    LOOK HERE: 2017-18 School start dates

    Friday, August 18 2017 2:43 PM EDT2017-08-18 18:43:41 GMT
    First day of school for students in NE Ohio. (Source: WOIO)First day of school for students in NE Ohio. (Source: WOIO)

    Summer is wrapping up and students all across the country and in northeast Ohio are headed back to school.  

    More >>

    Summer is wrapping up and students all across the country and in northeast Ohio are headed back to school.  

    More >>
  • Hopkins passenger reunited with valuable ring, thanks to TSA

    Hopkins passenger reunited with valuable ring, thanks to TSA

    Friday, August 18 2017 10:37 AM EDT2017-08-18 14:37:36 GMT
    Marijke Dauwen, who wears her deceased brother’s class ring as a tribute to him, was passing through a TSA security checkpoint at Hopkins in July when another passenger inadvertently picked up the ring. (Source: TSA)Marijke Dauwen, who wears her deceased brother’s class ring as a tribute to him, was passing through a TSA security checkpoint at Hopkins in July when another passenger inadvertently picked up the ring. (Source: TSA)

    A Transportation Security Administration Officer helped reunite a passenger traveling through Cleveland Hopkins International Airport with a valuable ring she misplaced at the airport last month.  

    More >>

    A Transportation Security Administration Officer helped reunite a passenger traveling through Cleveland Hopkins International Airport with a valuable ring she misplaced at the airport last month.  

    More >>
Powered by Frankly