Former Northwest High football player dies after suffering head injury during college practice -- Gazette.Net



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Derek Sheely, a Frostburg State University football player and Northwest High School alum, died Sunday evening after collapsing Aug. 22 at a Frostburg football practice. He was 22.Sheely was drilling with the team and felt sick after taking a couple of blows, said his father, Ken Sheely of Germantown. Derek Sheely told his coaches he felt ill, then collapsed.

After less than a day at Western Maryland Regional Medical Center in Cumberland, Derek Sheely was transferred to R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he was treated for severe head trauma as a result of football injury, his father said.He remained hospitalized in critical condition until his death Sunday, said hospital spokeswoman Cindy Rivers, who declined to comment on what caused Sheely’s death or whether an autopsy would be performed.His family will remember the effect he had on other people.

“He touched a lot of people’s lives,” Ken Sheely said. “On Saturday, in the middle of the hurricane, there were 100 people that drove up to Baltimore to visit with him. It was really heartwarming to see how many people he touched that drove one, two, three hours to see him. ” Known for his sarcastic wit and skills both on the football field and in the classroom, Derek Sheely recently completed an internship with the U.S. Department of Energy, and had applied for a job with the CIA, his father said.

“This kid had a big heart and strong will. He was very smart and liked to joke around,” Ken Sheely said. “He was driven. I’ve never seen anyone as driven as he is.”

A history and political science major, Derek Sheely was the starting fullback for the Frostburg State University Bobcats and was named to the Atlantic Central Football Conference’s 2010 All-Academic team, university spokeswoman Liz Medcalf said. At Northwest High, Sheely served as co-captain during the Jaguars’ 2006 season, which ended with a 12-1 record, the team’s best in the past five years. After graduating from Northwest in 2007, Sheely attended Pennsylvania State University for a year, before transferring to Frostburg to play football, said Andrew Fields, former defensive coordinator and head coach at Northwest.

“When you think of the glory days of Northwest football, he's the guy you think about,” Fields said Monday. “On and off the field, he was a great student and a classy individual.”

Sheely’s death was not expected to affect the first day of classes today at Frostburg, and the football team has continued with scheduled practices, Medcalf said.“(Derek) was one of those natural born leaders that didn't need a lot of attention,” Ken Sheely said. “When he was around people, they naturally gravitated around him.”

nnourmohammadi@gazette.net