Sunday, July 20, 2003

Arena Football player dies at game



The Associated Press

VALLEY CENTER, Kan. - An arenafootball2 player died Saturday night after collapsing during a game.

A league official said Bakersfield Blitz linebacker Julian Yearwood, 31, collapsed while sitting on the bench in the first quarter of the game against the Wichita Stealth.

Emergency officials tried to resuscitate Yearwood for about 15 to 20 minutes in the Blitz sideline area before placing him in an ambulance, Stealth spokesman Deuane Howard said. Yearwood was pronounced dead at a Wichita hospital at 9:37 p.m., Howard said. The game was immediately called off.

Arenafootball2 spokesman Ron Deuter said the league planned to wait for autopsy results before discussing any potential cause of death.

"Everyone in the Arena Football family offers their sincerest condolences to Julian's family and the entire Bakersfield Blitz organization," the league said in a news release.

Yearwood, a 6-foot-2, 260-pound fullback/linebacker from the University of Nevada, was in his third season with the Blitz. He had 221/2 tackles, six sacks and one interception in 12 games, including 11 starts, this season.

As is customary in Arena Football, Yearwood had been playing both offense and defense in the game before he collapsed, about 131/2 minutes into the first 15-minute quarter. Yearwood had blocked a field goal earlier in the game, which was tied 7-7.

Players huddled in a circle, kneeled and prayed while emergency workers tried to resuscitate Yearwood.

The game, between two playoff contenders with one week left in the regular season, was postponed indefinitely. Deuter said the league would decide the game's outcome in days to come.

"Obviously, that's a secondary concern," Deuter said.




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