Kent State University confirmed the death of Kent State football player Jason Bitsko on Wednesday afternoon.
Bitsko, a redshirt junior center from Huber Heights, was found dead in his off-campus apartment after he failed to show up for this morning's practice. Foul play is not suspected.
“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.”
Golden Flashes teammates have been paying tribute to their fallen teammate throughout the afternoon on Twitter and other social media sites.
Calls were placed to Bitsko’s roommate after he failed to show up for morning practice. His roommate called 911 after finding Bitsko in his bed. Brimfield Police arrived on the scene within three minutes of the call.
"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," the university reported.
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.
Bitsko, age 21, was projected to start at center for KSU this season. He started all 12 games at right tackle as a sophomore last year, then earned the Read Award given to the player that "best exemplified hard work and dedication beyond the call of duty" during 2014 spring practice session.
Details of Bitsko's death will be provided as they surface.
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.