Among the sports available today, football ranks near the top of the list when it comes to the most grueling sports. Pushing their bodies to the limit under intense circumstances, week after week, some of the top athletes in the world perform flawlessly in front of millions. While Mississippi State is currently in the middle of its season, the team is now mourning the death of one of its teammates. Sam Westmoreland, who was a freshman offensive lineman for the university, died Wednesday morning at the age of 19.

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Releasing a statement about the tragic death of Sam Westmoreland, head coach Mike Leach said, “The Mississippi State Athletics Family is heartbroken by the sudden death of Sam Westmoreland. Sam was a beloved son, brother, and teammate and a tremendous young man with a limitless future. He will always be remembered and deeply missed by everyone who knew and loved him. The entire MSU Family mourns as our thoughts and prayers go out to the Westmoreland family. Our highest priority is the support of the Westmoreland family and our student-athletes during this troubling time.”

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A native of Tupelo, MS, Westmoreland’s cause of death has yet to be announced. Playing for the football team, the freshman must have been in some sort of healthy psychical condition. For now, the Oktibbeha County Coroner’s Office and County Sheriff’s Office are working with the university as they conduct an investigation into what might have caused his death. Athletics director John Cohen said, “We are heartbroken by the sudden loss of Sam Westmoreland,” said Mississippi State athletics director John Cohen. “Mississippi State is a family, and we are all mourning during this trying time. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Westmoreland family and everyone who knew and loved Sam.”

Giving a glimpse of the impact Sam Westmoreland had on the people he met, the president of Mississippi State, Mark E. Keenum, took a moment to remember the football star and how the loss of a student is shared by all. “One of the most profound lessons I’ve learned while leading this great university is that the tragic loss of one of our students diminishes all of our students—and all of us at Mississippi State feel the impact of Sam Westmoreland’s death. My prayers are with Sam’s family and friends, with his MSU teammates and coaches, and with the Tupelo community during this most difficult time.”

The quarterback for MSU, Will Rogers, tweeted, “It’s okay to not be okay, and we can always do more no matter what is going on. Hail State forever, brother. ‘Til we meet again 78.” MSU is currently ranked 24 and has an upcoming road game against the bruised number 6 Alabama.

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This piece was written by Jeremy Porter on October 19, 2022. It originally appeared on LifeZette and is used with permission.

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