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Foul play not suspected in death of former Spider football player

Posted at 10:16 AM, Dec 01, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-01 19:08:08-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- A former University of Richmond football player was found dead over the weekend in a downtown Richmond apartment building. Richmond Police said no foul play was suspected in Kurt Schmitz's death.

"Kurt was a political science major and a three-year member of the University of Richmond football team. I have been in touch with his family to offer the University's deepest condolences," University of Richmond president Ed Ayers wrote in an email to Richmond students, staff and faculty. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Kurt's family and friends and all who knew him as a member of the University of Richmond campus community."

Schmitz's body was found at the Eagle Mill Apartments & Lofts on West Marshall Street on Sunday morning, according to Richmond Police.

Kurt Schmitz and locator

The New Jersey native began his college football career in 2010, but his time on the field was cut short after he suffered multiple concussions, according to an article published in the university's newspaper.

"He managed to hide two concussions he suffered, and easily recognized the signs when he suffered his third during the spring season, but still refused to report it to the training staff in order to keep playing," the article indicated. "His fourth concussion was a different story only because he woke up in the hospital."

The article indicated Schmitz's father spoke to his son about stopping football following his fourth concussion.

"Guys on the team aren't superman," Schmitz said in the article. "You may want to play through days where you can't see straight, but from what I've experienced, it will catch you."

Friends of Schmitz told CBS 6 he was a great person, and will be sorely missed by many current and former athletes at Richmond.

"Guys kind of broke down started crying," said Schmitz's former teammate and UR senior Justin Williamson.

Williams said news of Schmitz's passing hit the team hard.

"He just loved the game of football and he just loved the team and he'd do anything for any one of us," said Williamson.

The political science major played three years on the UR football team before multiple concussions took him out of the game.

"He had the concussions and we all knew that, so he made a big deal about it to us he said like don't take any chances if your head is hurting and have a bad headache make sure you get checked," said Williamson,

"It hurt him a lot when he couldn't play, one guy said he cried about it one day because he wanted to play so bad," added Williamson.

Schmitz still huddled up with his team from the bench.

"We remember him being over there during practice talking to us speaking to us on how we can get better he was a great attribute to our team even though he couldn't play," said Williamson.

When his team plays Saturday it'll be going the distance for number 73.

"Most of us are going to dedicate this game to Schmitz and have in the back of our mind this one's for him," said Williamson.

Funeral arrangements for Schmitz have not been finalized. Counseling is available to students impacted by the sudden loss.

The school will fly its flag at half-staff through December 3 to mark Schmitz's death.

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