ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Following the death of a freshman football player and another classmate's hospitalization with severe head injuries, midshipmen of the U.S. Naval Academy gathered with bowed heads Friday morning in a courtyard on the academy grounds.
On its Facebook page, the academy posted photos of the gathering and a statement. "Some say that 'it is in life's roughest storms that we find our strongest anchors.' For the Brigade of Midshipmen, we find those anchors in each other.
"Hundreds of Mids gathered in Tecumseh Court this morning to pray for and celebrate the life of our shipmate lost, Will McKamey, and one still fighting, Hans Loewen. In addition, Midshipmen gathered in support of the McKamey and Loewen families."
Will McKamey, 19, of Knoxville, Tenn., died Tuesday at Baltimore Shock Trauma. He had undergone surgery for bleeding and swelling on the brain after collapsing on the Navy football practice field last Saturday.
Also last Saturday Hans Loewen, 20, of Hampstead, N.C., suffered head injuries in a skateboarding accident at the Assateague Island National Seashore, a national park located on a barrier island off the coasts of Maryland and Virginia.
Loewen is hospitalized at Baltimore Shock Trauma.
On the website CaringBridge, his family wrote Loewen sustained skull, facial and jaw fractures and internal cranial bleeding.
He is the son of Jennifer and Eric Loewen and the brother of Zatha Loewen, also a Midshipman and listed on the academy web site as a member of the women's cross country team.
The family said Loewen, an extreme sports enthusiast, was skateboarding (in a helmet) behind a slow moving vehicle when he fell beneath a rear wheel.
"We all feel and hear and appreciate the outpouring of love and prayers and know that he is being uplifted in hope by all of us, our family and friends across the U.S. and the world, and his entire and incredible Naval Academy family," the family posted on the web site.
On Twitter this week, the Navy athletics department wrote: "As we continue to #livelikeWill please don't forget to #PrayforHans, another Midshipman that is currently at Baltimore Shock Trauma."
McKamey's funeral will be held Monday at Grace Baptist Church in Knoxville. Attending will be Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo, members of the team, athletic director Chet Gladchuk and Capt. Bill Byrne, commandant of Midshipmen, according to The Capital newspaper of Annapolis.
McKamey was a football standout on the Grace Christian Academy team coached by his father, Randy.