OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma State University basketball player who died in July following an outdoor team workout suffered from an enlarged heart and died of natural causes, the state medical examiner’s office said Friday.
Forward Tyrek Coger, 22, collapsed on July 21 following a 40-minute team workout on the football stadium stairs when the temperature was 99 degrees.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s autopsy report states that Coger died due to cardiomegaly, or an enlarged heart, and that his heart’s left ventricle had become abnormally thick. It also says an abnormal accumulation of spinal fluid in the brain was a contributing factor to his death.
The autopsy report does not list weather conditions at the time he collapsed as a contributing factor to Coger’s death. Medical Examiner’s Office spokeswoman Amy Elliott did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Coger transferred from Cape Fear Community College in North Carolina and arrived at OSU on July 5. All men’s basketball players at OSU undergo a baseline electrocardiogram and echocardiogram, and Coger had been cleared for basketball activity, said Gavin Lang, assistant athletic director for media relations at OSU.
“Oklahoma State University, OSU Athletics and Cowboy Basketball once again send the deepest sympathies to Tyrek Coger’s family and friends,” Lang said in an email to The Associated Press.
In an interview with the Stillwater NewsPress before his death, Coger spoke of frequent headaches during high school and said he had surgery several years ago to drain fluid from around his brain.
The team noticed Coger was having issues after he’d sat down after the drills, and called 911 at about 5 p.m. National Weather Service records show the temperature at that time was 99 degrees with humidity at 38 percent, meaning it felt like it was 106. Officials say Coger was pronounced dead at a hospital at 6:23 p.m.
Coger’s death was the latest tragedy for OSU. Last October, a driver crashed into a crowd at the homecoming parade, killing four spectators and wounding dozens. In 2011, women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke, assistant Miranda Serna and two others died in a plane crash in western Arkansas. And in 2001, 10 people died in a Colorado plane crash, including two men’s basketball players and six staff members.