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Police Reveal New Details Leading Up to Sudden Death of College Football Player: Report

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Police in Las Vegas have offered additional details in relation to the sudden death of 20-year-old college football player Ryan Keeler last month.

The sophomore defensive end for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, died unexpectedly on campus Feb. 20.

No cause of death was revealed as the transfer player was simply reported to have died unexpectedly.

“The UNLV family is in mourning today over the sudden loss of one of our own,” UNLV Athletic Director Erick Harper said in a statement at the time. “Our hearts go out to all of Ryan’s family and friends along with his Rebel teammates.”

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According to a police report reviewed by TMZ Sports, Keeler had been experiencing symptoms such as nausea after he was diagnosed with an undisclosed illness.

He had been prescribed medication by a team doctor, according to the report Tuesday.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said Keeler first fell ill on Feb. 13, a week before his death.

He visited with the team’s director of sports medicine on Feb. 17 and again two days later on Feb. 19 — when someone close to the player reported he was feeling “better,” according to the report.

A day later, UNLV graduate assistant Julio Garcia went to Keeler’s room to conduct a welfare check on him.

When he received no answer, Garcia said, he broke the door down and found Keeler lying face up in bed and “cold to the touch,” the report said.

TMZ Sports reported an empty prescription pill bottle was found near his body.

Much of the police report was said to have been redacted, and no cause of death was available.

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Keeler began his college football career at Rutgers before transferring to UNLV after the 2021 season.

Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano remembered the 20-year-old for his “passion” for the sport in a tribute he posted on Twitter.

“From getting to know him as a recruit, to actually getting to coach him, what stood out most was his passion,” Schiano wrote Feb. 20. “His passion for his teammates and his passion for the game of football. We send our love and prayers to Ryan’s family and friends during this difficult time.”

Keeler saw playing time in seven of the Rebels’ 12 games in the 2022 season.

Incoming UNLV head coach Barry Odom, who had not yet had an opportunity to coach Keeler in a game, called his death “devastating” to the team in a statement.

“We are devastated to have lost a member of our Rebel family,” Odom said. “While I had the honor of knowing Ryan for only a couple of months, he already stood out to our coaching staff as an incredible person, student and teammate.

“Our condolences and prayers go out to Ryan’s family as we grieve along with them over this tremendous loss.”

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.




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