Emotions are circling the death of freshman running back Keeley Dorsey.
Accordingly, there was plenty of emotion at coach Jim Leavitt’s press conference in front of the John and Grace Allen Administration Building on Thursday. Leavitt mentioned how he wanted to express his feelings to his 10-year-old daughter, Deandra.
He did so with a text message that said “I love you.”
Earlier in the day, Dorsey’s autopsy was conducted, according to Dick Bailey, manager of operations for the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Department. The cause of death will not be known until the results of the toxicology report come back.
Those results may take four to six weeks, Bailey said.
Of course, many other questions surround the sudden death, but for some time, there may be few answers.
The general questions are arising, such as, “What exact exercise was he doing in the weight room?” or “Had he complained about any illness or weakness before?”
One of those two was answered Thursday, as junior receiver Amarri Jackson, who was present in the weight room at the time of Dorsey’s collapse, confirmed that the running back from Tallahassee was performing a power clean. The exercise Jackson was referring to is when a player bends at the waist, lifts a bar with desired weight, moves the bar up to the player’s shoulders and then lifts the bar over his head.
“He’s a hard-working guy; he worked so hard at everything,” Jackson said. “I don’t even know if the workout had anything to do with (his death). What (ever) the matter was, I know, regardless of the fact, he worked real hard.”
Dorsey’s hard-working attitude was missed throughout the Athletic Department on Thursday as Associate Director of Athletics/Sports & Programs Barry Clements said some heads were hanging for their fallen “family member.”
“This whole thing has been awful,” said Clements, who has been at USF since 1983. “It’s tragic. … For a lot of people it brings back a lot of history of past deaths, and it’s one of those things that we’re all on top of. Everyone is there for each other – we’re like family members.”
Clements added that the Athletic Department owns six defibrillators, one of which was used on Dorsey as reported in Thursday’s Oracle.
Others not associated with athletics expressed their sentiments, such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was on campus to speak at the Sun Dome. Jackson took the time to call Dorsey’s mother, Tammie, who also met with Leavitt and team chaplain David Lane in Tallahassee.
“I called her as a parent of three sons who have played football,” Jackson said. “I played football as well. It’s a high-risk sport. Sometimes there are undetectable things in our bodies we just don’t know about. So I called her and offered her a prayer with her.”
Leavitt said he’s had a rough couple of days and looked worn down at the press conference, but just wanted to take the time to reflect on what Dorsey meant to him.
“Keeley loved this football (team), and this football team loved Keeley, too,” Leavitt said. “He was a special guy. He will probably impact this team, community more in his life than I could ever do in how long I live.”
Senior linebacker Pat St. Louis made a quick statement Thursday, but it only showed the state of disbelief the whole team is still in.
“(Wednesday) we lost not just a teammate, but a family member,” St. Louis said. “We’re like a family of brothers, and (Wednesday) was one of the most unexpected things that probably could have happened.”I can’t – the whole team – still can’t believe this happened.”
Dorsey is survived by his mother, his stepfather, Claude, and his 22-year-old brother, Marquel.
An on-campus memorial service has been scheduled for Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Corral.
Asst. Sports Editor Kevin Smetana contributed to this story.