Winona State football player Sean Afryl dies during workout - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Winona State football player dies during on-campus workout

Posted: Updated:
This is the field where Sean Afryl, 22, collapsed. Photo by Maury Glover. This is the field where Sean Afryl, 22, collapsed. Photo by Maury Glover.
WINONA, Minn. (KMSP) -

The Winona State University campus is shocked and grieving after a 22-year-old student and member of the team's football team collapsed and died on campus during a work-out with his teammates.

Shawn Afryl, 22, only recently transferred to Winona from the University of Illinois, where he played football for three seasons. Even though he had only just signed on to become a Winona State Warrior a few weeks ago, his coach said he quickly became a valued member of the team.

"A fun-loving guy," Coach Tom Sawyer described. "People clinged to him really fast. Dynamic personality -- passionate about teaching and passionate about football, and that's a good combination."

Afryl was taking part in pre-season conditioning drills with other players on Monday evening when he collapsed on the field. Paramedics weren't able to revive him, and he was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

"It's gut-wrenching any time a young person passes," Coach Tom Sawyer told Fox 9 News. "It makes me think of my own kids -- 25 and 30. You think about young people -- really takes a big chunk out of your heart and gut."

The 6-foot-3-inch, 310-pound offensive lineman was one of the best players in the country out of high school, but he chose the University of Illinois over Big 10 rivals like Purdue and Indiana; however, he played only one game before graduating with a degree in political science. After taking a year off, the gentle giant off the field decided to pursue his dream of becoming a teacher and coach. That's when he decided to finish his 2 years of eligibility at WSU.

Afryl's mother said her son was born on Super Bowl Sunday and was her sunshine, describing him as "an incredibly giving man" who "brought love and smiles and help to everybody," and she added "there is no mother that could be any prouder than me to call him their son."

Although Afryl may have only been a Warrior for a short time, Sawyer said he certainly left a lasting impression.

"The people at Winona State have opened their arms to him, and I think he and his family know that," he said. "It's just a sad day, and he'll be with us forever."

Afryl's mother told Fox 9 News her son had a huge heart. Tragically, his heart may have been what failed him. A former coach told Fox 9 News that Afryl died of cardiac arrest. It was 90 degrees on the field on Monday, but Sawyer said medical personnel have not told university officials whether heat may have played a role in his death.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Adrian Peterson posts bond in Texas, returns to Minnesota

    Adrian Peterson posts bond in Texas, returns to Minnesota

    Sunday, September 14 2014 9:59 AM EDT2014-09-14 13:59:53 GMT

    Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson flew to Texas late Friday night to turn himself into jail on a warrant for “reckless or negligent injury to a child." FOX 26 in Houston confirmed Peterson was booked into the Montgomery County jail between 1:06 a.m. and 1:35 a.m. Saturday. He posted bond and went to the airport, returning to Minnesota early Saturday morning.

    Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson flew to Texas late Friday night to turn himself into jail on a warrant for “reckless or negligent injury to a child." FOX 26 in Houston confirmed Peterson was booked into the Montgomery County jail between 1:06 a.m. and 1:35 a.m. Saturday. He posted bond and went to the airport, returning to Minnesota early Saturday morning.

  • Fall color forecast: The colors are coming

    Fall color forecast: The colors are coming

    Sunday, September 14 2014 12:56 PM EDT2014-09-14 16:56:07 GMT
    The recent cool weather should have a big impact in the week ahead when it comes to the colors...
    The recent cool weather should have a big impact in the week ahead when it comes to the colors...
  • PHOTOS: Transforming TCF Bank stadium for the Vikings

    PHOTOS: Transforming TCF Bank stadium for the Vikings

    Wednesday, August 6 2014 10:17 PM EDT2014-08-07 02:17:59 GMT
    The massive steel beams may be going up at the future home of the Vikings, but it'll still be a couple of years before they can stay there. In the interim, they'll be at TCF Bank stadium -- and it's changing to welcome them.
    The massive steel beams may be going up at the future home of the Vikings, but it'll still be a couple of years before they can stay there. In the interim, they'll be at TCF Bank stadium -- and it's changing to welcome them.
Widgets Magazine
Powered by WorldNow

KSAZ-TV & KUTP
511 W. Adams St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Phone: (602) 257-1234
Fax: (602) 262-0177

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices