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Student deaths must unite campus

Originally published October 22, 2010

The Bradley bubble seemed to shrink a bit on Monday as word of junior Phil Kaiser’s death rippled through campus.

At first, rumors of what had happened ran rampant. Assumptions, wrong ones, were made.

But later, once the 21 year old’s cause of death was released, the entire campus community seemed to turn its mind to mourning the loss of a life cut far too short.

Kaiser was pronounced dead at Methodist Medical Center just before 3 a.m. Monday after being found unresponsive in his girlfriend’s apartment.

The news that the baseball player died of a heart condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, is mind numbing.

The condition, which is typically inherited, causes a thickening of the heart muscle. That, in turn, can cause all sorts of complications. In Kaiser’s case, his heart was beating abnormally, which eventually led to heart failure.

Heart failure in a 21-year-old athlete. Terrifying, but not as uncommon as you might think.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy affects one in 500 people. It’s found in men and women equally and is the leading cause of heart-related death in people under the age of 30.

Kaiser’s death comes mere weeks after the death of another student, junior John Bradley, who was killed in September when the truck he was driving in overturned on a rain-soaked highway.

An on-campus memorial service for Bradley has been set for 7 p.m. Thursday in the Marty Theatre.

Our thoughts, prayers and wishes are with both Bradley’s and Kaiser’s families and friends. Every death is hard to cope with, but losing two men so young is heartbreaking.

Which leads us to our next point.

Life is short. If nothing else, losing Phil and John prove that.

This is a time for campus to come together to show support for two of its own. Greek or not greek, athlete or non-athlete, we’re all equal members of this community.

Their deaths affect each and every person here, and the black holes where Bradley’s and Kaiser’s lives once were will stick with many for the rest of their lives.

So we all need to be there for our fallen peers.

It doesn’t matter if that means attending Kaiser’s funeral service this evening, Bradley’s memorial service on Thursday or just keeping the two in your thoughts.

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