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Hundreds attend memorial service for another Kansas football player who died from the heat

Myzelle Law died from heat-related illness after a pre-season voluntary workout at MidAmerica Nazarene University. He was a graduate of Blue Valley North High School
The Law Family
Myzelle Law died from heat-related illness after a preseason voluntary workout at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe. He was a graduate of Blue Valley North High School.

Myzelle Law, 19, was a sophomore defensive lineman at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe. He spent a week in the hospital before dying, after his body temperature hit 108 degrees during a preseason workout.

For the third time in five years, people gathered to remember a Kansas college football player who died from a heat-related illness.

This Saturday, it was for Myzelle Law, 19, a defensive lineman from MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, whose body temperature spiked dangerously high after a voluntary workout at the school on July 22, according to his family. Law died a week later.

More than 300 people came to celebrate the teen's life at Life Church in Overland Park.

"This is a celebration," said Chris Dowdy, a close family friend who organized the GoFundMe campaign to help pay for medical and funeral expenses. "Let Myzelle see the smile he taught you."

Everyone who spoke talked about Law's smile. One person called it a billion-dollar smile. Another said it could light up a stadium. A Blue Valley North classmate said the first page in Law's high school notebook said, "Never forget to keep on smiling."

"Myzelle was one of one," his older brother Paul Law said. "He was an old soul."

His high school and college teammates and friends said Law was the friend they could count on, the one who would check in, the one who would drive them to be their best.

"I think he'll forever be my hero," high school classmate Lucas Bullock said.

All that is known about the workout is that Law collapsed in the locker room and his body temperature hit 108 degrees, according to his family.

Families who spoke to KCUR on the condition of anonymity said coaches were present at the workout. MidAmerica Nazarene officials have refused to say whether an ice bath or ice towels were on hand in case there was a heat emergency. Heatstroke experts say plunging someone in a tub full of ice water is 100% effective in preventing heatstroke deaths.

“That's why you should have ice water tubs on the sidelines,” former University of Oklahoma football team doctor Randy Eichner, a leading expert, told KCUR.

MidAmerica Nazarene Athletic Director Todd Garrett wouldn't say whether the university is conducting an investigation into the circumstances around Law's death. MidAmerica Nazarene is an NAIA school that plays in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.

Myzelle's father, Paul Law, was the last to speak at Saturday's celebration of life. He talked about begging paramedics to do something to help his son. He said doctors at Overland Park Regional Medical Center told him his son was the sickest patient they had in the entire hospital.

"I'm forever broken. I'm forever weakened," he said.

The first Kansas college football player to die from the heat was Braeden Bradforth in 2018 at Garden City Community College. An investigation revealed "a striking lack of leadership" by top college officials there. Former head coach Jeff Sims now works for a moving company in Lenexa.

The second player to die after an August workout was Tirrell Williams at Fort Scott Community College in 2021. Williams' family sued, alleging former head coach Carson Hunter "negligently, recklessly, and improperly forced Tirrell Williams to undergo an unreasonable, abusive, and dangerous training regimen in unsafe conditions," according to the federal lawsuit that is set for a settlement hearing Tuesday.

Hunter was a part-time coach at West Florida University but is no longer employed there, according to the university's athletic department.

As for the football players, all three were 19, weighed around 300 pounds and were African American.

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