College football player from Miami collapses during practice, dies

Warner University 'devastated' by death of wide receiver Theodore Hammonds

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor, Terrell Forney - Reporter

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - A college football player from Miami collapsed during practice and later died, Warner University said Tuesday.

Senior wide receiver Theodore Hammonds collapsed after a non-contact football drill and was rushed to a Lake Wales hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Warner University President David Hoag said in a statement released by the school.

Before enrolling at the NAIA school, Hammonds played at Miami Carol City Senior High School.

His former coach, Harold Barnwell, is still absorbing the news of Hammonds' sudden death.

"He would always come back and visit," Barnwell said. "I treated him like one of my own kids because my son and him were pretty close, and their team was pretty close."

Hoag said certified athletic trainers were on hand at the time that Hammonds collapsed and provided immediate emergency aid. He said the cause of death has not yet been determined "and it would be inappropriate to speculate regarding the cause of death at this time."

"On behalf of Warner University and our faculty, staff, coaches and trainers, we offer our deepest sympathies and heartfelt prayers to Theo's family, friends and teammates in this difficult and uncertain time," Hoag said. "We are devastated by his passing."

Hammonds had 14 receptions for 193 yards and two touchdowns in four games for the Royals this season.

His father said he's still processing the fact that his son is gone.

"You're not supposed to bury your child," Theodore Hammonds Sr. said.

Hammonds Sr. said he was told doctors worked to revive his son for more than an hour.

"But they couldn't get his heart to start up again," he said.

Teammates and coaches wore yellow ribbons Wednesday in honor of Hammonds. 

"When you talk about just genuinely nice people, he would come up," Barnwell said. "(He) always had a smile on his face."

Hammonds Sr. said his son had aspirations of playing in the NFL. Now, that dream is dashed.

"I just have to find a way to cope and, even if I don't get the answers I need, I just, you know, I just want some understanding," he said.

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