A coroner has listed head trauma as the preliminary cause of death of a college student who died after being struck during a hammer-throw event at a track-and-field meet near Chicago.
The DuPage County Coroner's office said in a news release that it reached the preliminary finding after conducting an autopsy on the body of 19-year-old Ethan Roser.
Roser was working as a volunteer during Saturday's meet at Wheaton College, where he was a freshman, when he was struck by an errant throw of the large metal ball attached to a steel wire called a hammer.
Wheaton Police say Roser was at the meet to measure the distance of the throws in the event and that he was standing near the field where the metal balls land when he was hit by an errant throw.
Bystanders said Roser was in the middle of the field, in the wrong place at the wrong time, with witness Marcus Malcolm recalling that the student “dropped down and then was unresponsive after that.”
Paramedics responded immediately, school officials said, and Roser was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove where he was pronounced dead. [[420171503, C]]
Friends and family said Roser, a freshman transfer student from Cincinnati, was a member of the soccer team and wanted to learn more about ministry.
“He was really encouraging and fun to be around,” said Max Schaafsma, a friend who attended a vigil on the field Saturday night.
Roser's father said the teen will be remembered as a strong Christian. The Rev. Mark Roser said Roser shared his faith with others and it guided his life.
Roser's parents were missionaries and he grew up in Zimbabwe before his family moved back to the U.S.
Another vigil was held on campus Saturday night, as members of the community lean on their faith.
"We are deeply grieved, but, because of our faith in Christ, not without hope," Wheaton College President Philip Ryken said in a statement. "We ask people to pray for Ethan's family, his friends, and our campus community.”
“Even if it's really hard, we can still know that Ethan is in heaven with God,” Schaafsma said.