Bobby Roundtree was Former Illinois football star know all about Bobby Roundtree Family, Net Worth, Parents, Wife, Children, Swimming Accident and Cause of Death
Former University of Illinois football player Bobby Roundtree, who was paralyzed in a swimming accident, died Friday, the school said. He was 23. Roundtree played for the Fightin’ Illini for two seasons before the 2019 accident in Florida. The defensive end earned an All-Big Ten honorable mention in his sophomore season, during which he led Illinois in tackles for loss, sacks and pass breakups.
“From his first day on campus, Bobby was a leader. His work ethic, competitive fire, and drive for excellence set him apart,” Illinois athletics director Josh Whitman said in a statement. “Following his tragic accident, those same qualities allowed him to tackle his new challenges with the same vigor and determination that we had seen on the football field.
“In so doing, he continued to bring light and inspiration to the lives of those around him – and, in fact, to so many people who had never had the pleasure of meeting him.”The school did not announce a cause of death.Roundtree had been sharing his experience with rehab and physical therapy. His most recent video appeared on Twitter on Monday.A GoFundMe was set up in October 2020 by Roundtree’s mother, Jill Hearns, to help cover the cost of his therapy. More than $33,000 had been raised.
A separate fundraiser under the title “#97Strong: Fight for Bobby Roundtree” was set up in October 2019 by the Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics and has raised more than $130,000.
“In the face of incredible adversity, he demonstrated he was, and will always remain, a true champion,” Whitman said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. We will support them, and our players, coaches and staff who knew him well, as we struggle to understand this terrible news and, ultimately, look to celebrate the remarkable young leader we have lost.”
Bobby Roundtree paralyzed from the waist down in a swimming accident
The boats dropped anchor in the Intracoastal Waterway near John’s Pass in Madeira Beach, Florida, hundreds of folks gathered for a sandbar party. Music thumped. Alcohol was in abundance. Many revelers jumped off boats and into the water. Bobby Roundtree did it once, twice, several times. But then the tide went out. The water shallowed. Roundtree, Illinois’ star defensive end, jumped one time too many.
It was May 18, 2019, when Roundtree’s body — and life as he knew it — was shattered. In an instant, a 21-year-old who’d become a fearsome pass rusher as a sophomore and dreamed of playing in the NFL went from prospect to paralyzed. Football, gone. Walking, gone. Independence, gone. All of it, replaced by an alien blend of sadness, uncertainty and, indeed, new ambitions.Roundtree intends to walk again.
At the moment, he wants to tell his own story. A pending civil suit brought by Roundtree in Pinellas County, Florida, a copy of which was obtained by the Sun-Times, makes it difficult for him to discuss his accident, but he has an open well of thoughts, feelings and hopes about life as he knows it now. And he’s sharing it on his own, unfiltered by coaches, public-relations staff or anyone else at Illinois, a desire he made clear in a recent text exchange — initiated by him — that began, “When are we going to do that story?”
“They’re dealing with football,” he says. “And I want to do this for me.”
NOW 22, ROUNDTREE LIVES in Clearwater Beach, Florida, with his mother, Jacqueline Hearns, who goes by Jill. Roundtree’s younger sister, Zhane, and her two children also are there. Jill wanted them all hunkered down together during the pandemic.
Roundtree is an incomplete quadriplegic. He has considerable use of his upper body but not of his legs or his fingers, which limits him in myriad frustrating ways. He loves to work out and does so as often as he can — “That’s how I let things out and feel better,” he says — but a COVID-19 world has kept him inside the house far more than he wants to be.
“I believe I could’ve been further along strength-wise, could’ve been more independent,” he says. “I also feel if the COVID wasn’t around, others would be able to come see me more.”
He’s still an Illinois student, taking a few classes and pointing toward a major in sports management, but he isn’t having an easy go of it academically. If he could use his fingers rather than a mouth stick— a mouthpiece connected to a stylus — school would be so much more enjoyable.
“It’s just a lot,” he says. “I was good with school before. I would always try to turn in work a few days before it was due. Now it’s tough and it’s frustrating.”
He’s still a part of the Illini football family, watching all the games he can and keeping in touch with teammates and coaches here and there, but he doesn’t feel as connected as he used to. Football, school, life — maybe they’ve all just kind of gotten in the way. It’s not the easiest thing for him to express and explain.
“I guess I feel kind of left out a lot,” he says. “When I was up and moving, playing football, everyone was around me, everybody loved me. Then something like this happened. A lot of guys — friends, coaches —they don’t reach out as much. Some of them say they don’t know what to say when they reach out to me. I tell them I understand.
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