On September 16, Robert Grays, a cornerback for the Midwestern State Mustangs, took the field for his team’s match-up against the Texas A&M-Kingsville Javelinas.
With a little over three minutes left in the game, the Mustangs were up 35 to 13 and Grays had recorded three solo tackles and four assists, for a combined total of seven.
The game was turning out to be one of the best performances of Grays’ short career.
We love you Robert Grays pic.twitter.com/NBPt9ijDIE
— HIGHTOWER FOOTBALL (@HightowerFball) September 20, 2017
However, with just over three minutes left in the game, Grays made a tackle from which he couldn’t get up.
According to the Mustangs’ official website, the 19-year-old “suffered a neck injury and had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance.” After Grays arrived at the hospital, he was then airlifted to a hospital in Houston. Midwestern State athletics department spokesman Trey Reed told ESPN:
The exact diagnosis of Grays’ injury has yet to be reported.
But sadly, Grays passed away Tuesday night as a result of his injuries.
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) September 20, 2017
Midwestern State University President Suzanne Shipley released a statement Wednesday morning:
Today we mourn the loss of one of our own. Robert Grays died yesterday from critical injuries suffered in Saturday’s game. I know you will join me in expressing the sincerest condolences of the MSU community to Robert’s family and friends. Please keep them in your thoughts in the coming days.
Robert touched many lives while attending the university, but perhaps he will be remembered best for his smile. He was an inspiration on and off the field to those around him, and he will be remembered with love and affection by his friends, classmates, coaches, and teammates.
Teammates and peers of Grays have used social media to remember their friend:
— MSU Mustangs (@MSUMustangs) September 20, 2017
— MSU Wichitan Online (@WichitanOnline) September 20, 2017
— Midwestern State (@MidwesternState) September 19, 2017
Midwestern State coach Bill Maskill said Grays was a guy you loved to be around, adding that he wants Grays’ family to know that they have the support of the Midwestern State family.
And his family thanked everyone for their “prayers, kind words, condolences and support.”
2015 23-6A 1st Team All District Defense (Unanimous)
— HIGHTOWER FOOTBALL (@HightowerFball) November 17, 2015
Video of the deadly tackle has not been released.