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A University of Pittsburgh football player dies
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Old 19 Jun 2003, 06:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Rebel should cut his own throat and bleed to death.Rebel should cut his own throat and bleed to death.Rebel should cut his own throat and bleed to death.Rebel should cut his own throat and bleed to death.Rebel should cut his own throat and bleed to death.Rebel should cut his own throat and bleed to death.Rebel should cut his own throat and bleed to death.Rebel should cut his own throat and bleed to death.Rebel should cut his own throat and bleed to death.Rebel should cut his own throat and bleed to death.Rebel should cut his own throat and bleed to death.
Default A University of Pittsburgh football player dies

Gaines, 19, dies from fall-related injuries

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ESPN.com news services


PITTSBURGH -- A University of Pittsburgh football player died after he fell through a church ceiling and landed on a pew.


Gaines


Billy Gaines, a 19-year-old wide receiver from Ijamsville, Md., was apparently alone when he climbed up to the crawl space above the ceiling in the wee hours Wednesday, police said.

Gaines, a 5-foot-7 sophomore, was alone when he fell 25 to 30 feet. Police told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Gaines decided to climb to the church ceiling, apparently to inspect a signature on a wall or the ceiling itself. He had spinal cord injuries and a fractured skull when admitted to Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh. He died later Wednesday, the coroner's office said.

"There are no words to describe the deep feelings of loss our program is feeling right now," Pittsburgh coach Walt Harris said in a statement released by the school Thursday. "Many people saw Billy Gaines as simply a football player. He was so much more.

"Billy was a faithful son, brother, friend and teammate. He was never the biggest player on the football field, but no one stood taller when it came to commitment, passion and loyalty. We will miss him dearly, but in a very significant and comforting way Billy will always be with us."

A toxicology test has been done to help determine if alcohol may have played a part in the accident, the Post-Gazette reported Thursday, but the results were not yet known.

Gaines had been at a cookout at St. Anne Church in Homestead, just outside Pittsburgh. He was temporarily living there with his roommate, place kicker David Abdul, because their apartment was destroyed by a fire.

On Wednesday night, more than 300 people attended a 45-minute prayer vigil that was held at the football field at Urbana High School. According to the Post-Gazette, Gaines' alma mater won a Maryland-record 50 consecutive games, and he caught the touchdown pass that won the 2001 state championship for Urbana.

Gaines returned punts for the Panthers as a freshman before breaking his foot. The team declared him healthy this spring and ready to compete for playing time at wide receiver, the Post-Gazette reported.
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