An 18-year-old University of Maine football player collapsed and died Tuesday afternoon during a preseason workout at Alfond Stadium in Orono.

Darius Minor, from Locust Grove, Virginia, collapsed on the field at about 1:15 p.m. during a supervised light workout, the school said in a prepared statement. Neither members of the UMaine training staff nor local first responders were able to resuscitate him. The university did not provide details about the activity that Minor was participating in or indicate what might have led to his death.

Minor, who was projected to be a defensive back, was one of 17 first-year students taking part in the workout. He was in his third week of Maine’s freshman workouts and was taking a summer course. He was a political science major.

“Words cannot express the grief that we have following this tragic loss,” UMaine head football coach Joe Harasymiak said in a prepared statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go to Darius’ family and friends during this terrible time.”

Harasymiak was not at the workout. He was traveling to Maine from Baltimore, along with two players, after attending the annual Colonial Athletic Association Media Day.

Minor attended Orange County High School in Orange, Virginia, where he was an All-Central Virginia first-team wide receiver and second-team defensive back as a senior. He was a four-year starter.


Darius Minor was among 17 first-year students taking part in the workout. Walter Abbott, a former UMaine football player, coach and administrator, said he could not recall another instance of a football player dying during a practice or game at any Maine college “dating back to the 1950s.”

“The athletics department, our student-athletes and the entire campus mourn the loss of this bright and promising member of our community,” UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy said. “We ask all to keep him, his family and his friends in your thoughts through this painful time.”

Interim athletic director Jim Settele added, “UMaine athletics is devastated by this terrible accident. We extend our deepest condolences to the family during this difficult time and ask that their privacy be respected.”

The Black Bears are scheduled to open training camp Aug. 1. Their first game is Aug. 30 against New Hampshire at Alfond Stadium.

Walter Abbott, a Rumford native who was involved with UMaine football as a player, coach and administrator for more than five decades, said he could not recall another instance in which a football player died during a practice or game at any Maine college “dating back to the 1950s.”

From 2000-2016, an average of two NCAA football players died per season, according to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. Twenty-seven of the 33 deaths during those years were nontraumatic, meaning that they did not involve contact or collision during a game or practice.

In June, University of Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair died two weeks after collapsing during a practice.


News of Minor’s death traveled throughout the Colonial Athletic Association.

“This afternoon the CAA was saddened to learn of the passing of University of Maine football student-athlete Darius Minor,” Commissioner Joe D’Antonio said. “On behalf of the entire CAA family we extend our deepest sympathies to the University of Maine and Darius’ family. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers at this time.”

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