Division II player dies from in-game injury

(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

(TSX / STATS) -- Midwestern State football player Robert Grays died following injuries while making a tackle in last weekend's game, the university announced Wednesday. He was 19.

Robert Grays, a sophomore cornerback from the Houston area, suffered a neck injury late in the fourth quarter in the Mustangs' 35-13 Division II home win over Texas A&M-Kingsville on Saturday in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Midwestern State athletics department spokesman Trey Reed told ESPN that Grays was hospitalized in Wichita Falls on Saturday night and then flown to a hospital in Houston, where he died Tuesday.

"Today we mourn the loss of one of our own," Midwestern State president Suzanne Shipley said in a statement released by the school on Wednesday morning. "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."

Grays played at Fort Bend L.V. Hightower High School in Missouri City, Texas, before enrolling at Midwestern State, which was ranked 12th in the latest Division II poll. He played in all 11 games as a freshman in 2016.

"He is a guy you'll love to be around, and as I walked up here, I want to make sure this is a support for him and his family," Midwestern State coach Bill Maskill said.

Grays was taken off the field in an ambulance after the injury.

"He's made this tackle hundreds of times, but it was just one of those situations that landed wrong," Midwestern State interim athletic director Kyle Williams told the school paper.

Grays was the second college football player to die this week.

College of Wooster senior offensive lineman Clayton Geib died Sunday, a day after the school said he was "complaining that he did not feel well" following the Division III school's 38-20 victory over Ohio Wesleyan in Wooster, Ohio. He was 21.

"Clayton was a wonderful student and member of the College of Wooster community, and beloved by many," Wooster president Sarah R. Bolton said. "Our hearts are breaking, and all our prayers and thoughts are with Clayton's family, teammates, and friends."

Updated September 20, 2017

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