Kent State student-athlete dies unexpectedly

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Jason Bitsko

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KENT, Ohio — A Kent State student-athlete died unexpectedly from what was believed to be an undetermined medical issue, the university said Wednesday.

Jason Bitsko, 21, was found unresponsive in the bedroom of his off-campus apartment shortly before 9 a.m.

He was about to begin his fourth year on the football team and would have been the starting center for the upcoming season.

Members of the football team were told of Bitsko’s passing during the end of the morning practice.  All remaining football activities on Wednesday were canceled.

“Kent State University and the entire Kent community mourns his passing,” said Joel Nielsen, Kent State’s director of athletics. “We are heartbroken by the news of Jason’s death. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, teammates and everyone whose lives he touched.”

“Our players, coaches and everyone involved with our team are hurting because he was family,” said Kent State head football coach Paul Haynes. “As a team, we will come together and get through this one day at a time.”

The university was providing counseling services and support to all student-athletes and staff members within university athletics.

Counseling is always available by contacting Psychological Services at the DeWeese Health Center at 330-672-2487.

Counseling and support are also available through the Counseling and Human Development Center in White Hall and the Psychological Clinic in Kent Hall.

The hashtag #KSUJason54 was established for those paying tribute via social media.

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