Top-Level College Athlete Dies from Rare Infection


Samantha Scott, a 23-year-old senior on Kansas State’s rowing team, died Saturday from a rare illness.

Scott began feeling ill two weeks ago and was thought to be suffering from tonsillitis, but her symptoms actually were related to Lemierre syndrome.

The disease is a bacterial infection that starts in the throat and spreads to the lymphatic vessels. It then leads to the formation of bacterial pus that infects soft tissues and can enter the bloodstream.

Those affected with the disease may just have the feeling of a sore throat, but the inflammation caused by it could lead to compression of the jugular vein and blood clots.

“Samantha was a great leader for our program and more importantly a great person,” K-State rowing coach Patrick Sweeney said in a statement.

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“She was so well-liked by all of her teammates and had such a big impact on our program both on and off the water. We are all still in a state of shock, and we will continue to keep her family in our thoughts and prayers.”

Scott was in her fourth year with the team and was the squad’s top coxswain this season. She was also on the Academic All-Big 12 second team last season and placed fourth at the Big 12 Championships.

A native of Fort Morgan, Colorado, Scott also competed in gymnastics and basketball while at Fort Morgan High School.

“We are all deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Samantha,” K-State Athletic Director Gene Taylor said.

“The Scott family will remain in our prayers during this time, and we will provide all of the necessary support we can for their entire family and also the members of our rowing program as they cope with this devastating loss.”

The Kansas State rowing team tweeted a photo and message in remembrance of Scott.

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The Wildcats last competed Oct. 21, when they defeated rival Kansas in a jamboree. Their schedule will start in March 2019 and run through May.

Scott’s friend, Kennidi Cobbley, has created a GoFundMe page to support the Scott family.

The family will use the funds for medical bills and funeral costs. They are also looking to start a scholarship fund on her behalf for the rowing team.

As of Thursday afternoon, the effort had raised nearly $3,000 toward a goal of $10,000.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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