Coroner: Ark. football player had heart condition

By Jeannie Nuss

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 22 2011 3:51 p.m. MST

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A University of Arkansas football player died over the weekend of a condition that caused an irregular heartbeat, a coroner said Tuesday.

Washington County coroner Roger Morris said that, to the best of his knowledge, Garrett Uekman's condition was not previously detected. He said the condition, which thickens the walls of the heart, affects a lot of young men.

"It's one of those kind of undetected silent killers," Morris said.

Uekman, a 19-year-old redshirt freshman tight end, was last seen playing video games Sunday morning. He was found unresponsive in his dorm room an hour later and was in cardiac arrest by the time emergency services personnel arrived. He was pronounced dead shortly after noon.

Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long has said the university wasn't aware of any pre-existing medical condition for Uekman.

Uekman's toxicology report came back with no indications of improper drug use, Morris said. University police have said there were no suspicious circumstances about Uekman's death.

Several thousand mourners gathered in Fayetteville on Monday for a candlelight vigil to remember Uekman. His picture remained on the videoboard at the Bud Walton Arena throughout the ceremony, and those in attendance wore stickers that had black ribbons wrapped in red with a white "88" on them, in honor of Uekman's number.

The No. 3 Razorbacks (10-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference) face No. 1 LSU (11-0, 7-0) in Baton Rouge, La., on Friday.

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