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Furman football player, 21, dies after collapsing during a workout

Bryce Stanfield was known for his “mega-watt” smile and as someone who “lifted up the room when he was there.”
Furman Paladins defensive tackle Bryce Stanfield photographed during a football game against the Clemson Tigers on Sept. 10, 2022.
Furman Paladins defensive tackle Bryce Stanfield photographed during a football game against the Clemson Tigers on Sept. 10, 2022.Jacob Kupferman / AP
/ Source: TODAY

A 21-year-old football player from Furman University in South Carolina died Feb. 9, two days after he collapsed during a workout.

Bryce Stanfield, who was a junior from Acworth, Georgia, studying health sciences, "unexpectedly collapsed" during a morning workout on Feb. 7 in Paladin Stadium. The defensive tackle was taken to the hospital, where he was placed on life support, Furman University President Elizabeth Davis said in a statement.

Stanfield died in the afternoon on Feb. 9 surrounded by his family, Davis said.

“Bryce excelled in the classroom and had aspirations for dental school after Furman,” Davis said. “He equally shined on the football field and was beloved by his teammates and coaches. He loved engaging local youth by serving in Heller’s Men of Distinction, as well as reading to children in local schools.”

During a “small private ceremony” held Feb. 9, Stanfield received his degree, graduating from Furman University magna cum laude surrounded by his family, friends and teammates, Davis said.

"He is a Furman graduate,” Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Jason Donnelly said during a press conference. “That was something that was very important to him as a student. It was very important to him and his parents. It was very important to our team.

“But one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen was the entire team there with him in the bed, in the (hospital) room, spending time with him, praying, crying, being together as a Furman football team, which really meant the world to him," he added.

The school did not disclose a cause of death for Stanfield. The university reported that the player suffered a "medical emergency" at the morning workout.

During the press conference, Furman football coach Clay Hendrix noted that Stanfield had been “rehabbing back strain” at the time, but said the injury wasn’t new.

“Bryce was an outstanding young man and an equally fine student, football player, and friend,” Hendrix said in a statement.?“He was so much a part of who we are as a program and school, and was pivotal in our success on the football field and through giving of his time in outreach to our community. In every sense he was the best representative we could have.”

Details surrounding a memorial on campus and service arrangements will be released at a later time.

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