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Ex-Ute gets gift of life with new heart from former BYU football player

Published: Friday, Sept. 19 2014 10:05 a.m. MDT

Updated: yesterday

Nick ended up staying home and playing for Cal State Northridge, where he started 10 games on the offensive line as a freshman before embarking on an LDS Church mission to the Philippines.

By the time he returned, Northridge had dropped its program so he enrolled at College of the Canyons and was named first-team all-conference and a junior college academic all-American while helping his team to an 11-1 record.

Then it was off to BYU in 2004. He redshirted his first year, missed his second season with a knee injury, and earned his letter as a senior, although he was not a starter.

While he was at BYU, his father, Todd, died suddenly from a blood clot at age 49, the first of several tragedies to befall the family. For his final season, Nick wore “TL” in permanent marker on his arm to honor his father.

A couple years later, Nick met a petite brunette, Caroline Evans, at a “munch and mingle” at an LDS singles ward in Saugus, California. She had been raised in Frazier Park, a small town in the mountains an hour north of Los Angeles, and though she wasn’t a sports fan at all, she did watch a lot of sports as a cheerleader in high school.

The two hit it off and kept in touch through social media while Nick was working as a graduate assistant at UCLA and Caroline was attending LDS Business College in Salt Lake City.

Once they started dating the following summer, however, it didn’t take long for things to progress and they were married within six months, on Dec. 30, 2010, at the Los Angeles Temple.

The couple settled in northern Utah and Nick served as the interim head football coach at Woods Cross High in the summer of 2011 after the head coach suffered health problems. He later became a car salesman at the Wasatch Auto Group in North Salt Lake, where “everybody loved him,’’ said Caroline. One of Nick’s loves was cars, and his pet project was restoring a 1965 Ford Galaxy.

Tragedy strikes

Caroline Longshore is remarkably composed as she talks about her late husband and the accident that took his life.

Last November, she and Nick decided to go up to Idaho to visit her two sisters in Idaho Falls to commemorate the one-year mark of their son’s birth and passing.

It was a melancholy time for the couple, who didn’t fully understand what had happened to their first child, Colton, who was born Nov. 13, 2012.

“He was a beautiful baby boy, full-term, 7 pounds 6 ounces. He passed away for unknown reasons,’’ Caroline said

Soon after arriving, Nick joined the husbands of Caroline’s sisters for a little outing before dinner. The last thing he said to Caroline was, “I’ll be back in 20 minutes.’’

“My brothers-in-law took him four-wheeling out on the sand dunes to cheer him up and get out of the house,’’ Caroline remembers. “He flipped the four-wheeler, the front wheels got stuck and landed on him. He had a really bad concussion, 10 broken ribs and a broken pelvis. When they came back we were talking to him, but he didn’t remember anything.’’

They rushed Nick to the hospital, but he had extensive internal bleeding and he went into cardiac arrest that night. He was put in an induced coma, but after seven days when it was determined that Nick was brain dead and there was no hope, the family decided to take him off life support.

Caroline and the family hadn’t thought much about the idea of transplanting his organs. Caroline thought he was a donor — it turned out his driver’s license had a “yes” on it — but in her grief she wasn’t even thinking about harvesting his organs.

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