Bobby Roundtree, paralyzed former college football star, dead at 23

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New York Post 17 July, 2021 - 10:39am 8 views

Who is Bobby Roundtree?

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. USA TODAYFormer Illinois football player Bobby Roundtree, who was paralyzed in swimming accident, dies at 23

Roundtree suffered a serious spinal cord injury during a boating and swimming accident in Tampa Bay on May 18, 2019, and had been working on his rehabilitation there for more than 18 months.

"All of us with Illinois Athletics are shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Bobby Roundtree," Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman said in a statement. "From his first day on campus, Bobby was a leader. His work ethic, competitive fire, and drive for excellence set him apart. 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.

"In the face of incredible adversity, he demonstrated he was, and always will remain, a true champion. 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."

Roundtree started 20 games during his two seasons with the Illini and earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors in 2018, when he recorded 66 tackles and led the team in sacks (7.5), tackles for loss (12.5) and pass breakups (7).

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Ex-Illini star Roundtree, paralyzed in accident, dies at 23

Yahoo News 17 July, 2021 - 08:11pm

Illinois said Roundtree, a Florida native, died in the Tampa area where he was living. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Roundtree played two seasons for the Illini, starting as a freshman and becoming one of the top pass rushers in the Big Ten as a sophomore in 2018. He had 11.5 sacks in his two seasons. 

On May 18, 2019, Roundtree was home in Florida when he suffered a spinal cord injury jumping off a boat. He was unable to move his legs after the accident.

“From his first day on campus, Bobby was a leader. His work ethic, competitive fire, and drive for excellence set him apart,” Illinois athletic 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.”

Roundtree never walked again, but as recently as Monday posted a video on Twitter of himself working to stand with assistance in a rehab facility. Last year, he told the Chicago Sun Times he believed he would walk again.

“I believe I could’ve been further along strength-wise, could’ve been more independent,” Roundtree told the newspaper. "I also feel if the COVID wasn’t around, others would be able to come see me more.”

Roundtree said then he was living with his mother, Jacqueline Hearns, and younger sister. He attended Largo High School in Florida, just north of St. Petersburg.

“In the face of incredible adversity, he demonstrated he was, and always will 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.”

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Roundtree was paralyzed in a swimming accident in 2019.

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Defensive end Bobby Roundtree became an inspiration to the Fighting Illini program after being paralyzed in a swimming accident in 2019.

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Former Illini DL Roundtree, once an NFL prospect, dies at 23

STLtoday.com 17 July, 2021 - 08:11pm

Illinois defensive lineman Bobby Roundtree, right, sacks Western Kentucky's Mike White in the fourth quarter of a game on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Champaign, Ill. Illinois won 20-7. (AP Photo/Bradley Leeb)

Illinois' Bobby Roundtree, right, sacks Western Kentucky's Mike White in a 2017 game in Champaign, Ill. 

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Former Illinois defensive lineman Bobby Roundtree died Friday, the team announced. He was 23 and the cause of his death was not disclosed.

Roundtree was a budding star for the Illini in the 2017 and 2018 seasons and showed he had the potential to play in the NFL. However, the 6-foot-5 pass rusher suffered a severe spinal cord injury during a boating and swimming accident in May 2019. The accident occurred near Roundtree’s hometown of Largo, Fla., and left him as an incomplete quadriplegic, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. He was not able to walk on his own after the accident, and his football career was abruptly ended.

“All of us with Illinois athletics are shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Bobby Roundtree,” athletics director Josh Whitman said in a statement. “From his first day on campus, Bobby was a leader. His work ethic, competitive fire, and drive for excellence set him apart. 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.”

Roundtree recorded 116 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 11½ sacks, 10 pass deflections and two forced fumbles in 24 games with the Illini. He was named to the BTN.com all-freshman team in 2017 and was selected as All-Big Ten honorable mention by the media in 2018.

Roundtree had been active on social media throughout his rehab, often sharing videos of his progress that were coupled with uplifting messages. His most recent tweet was posted Thursday night.

“Stay humble and keep ELEVATING,” Roundtree wrote.

Last month, the Illinois football team presented Roundtree with its annual Bruce Capel Award for Courage to honor his resilient mindset.

“In the face of incredible adversity, he demonstrated he was, and always will 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.”

After his career-ending injury, Roundtree returned to Champaign in November 2019 to watch his former teammates host Northwestern.

Several of them shared sincere messages via social media Friday, including fifth-year senior defensive lineman Jamal Woods.

“I really just lost my best friend,” Woods initially tweeted.

He followed up that tweet with a photo of him and Roundtree competing together at Memorial Stadium in their orange Illini uniforms. The caption read: “I love you brother #97strong will never disappear. I know you up there (in Heaven) jumping and walking around like never before.”

Roundtree wore No. 97, and #97Strong became a rallying cry for him after his accident.

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Illinois defensive lineman Bobby Roundtree, right, sacks Western Kentucky's Mike White in the fourth quarter of a game on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Champaign, Ill. Illinois won 20-7. (AP Photo/Bradley Leeb)

Illinois' Bobby Roundtree, right, sacks Western Kentucky's Mike White in a 2017 game in Champaign, Ill. 

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'Stay in Step' rehabilitation center staff remember Bobby Roundtree: 'He was the one who motivated us'

247Sports 17 July, 2021 - 08:11pm

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Said Nick Holm, a training aide at the facility: "He was the one who motivated us."

“He was just getting after it, man. He was just really proud. We started achieving some milestones and goals and he was able to roll over and he was getting a lot more independent. He was like, ‘Yeah man,’ Kimber paused to exhale. “F**k, man. He was able to get in and out of his car with his mom on his own and he was really happy about that.”

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Remembering Bobby Roundtree | Multimedia | news-gazette.com

Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette 17 July, 2021 - 08:11pm

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Bobby Roundtree, the former Illinois football player who inspired thousands after he was left paralyzed after a swimming accident two years ago, died Friday at the age of 23.

Stephen Haas/The News-Gazette Illinois head coach Lovie Smith celebrates with tight end Daniel Barker (87) and linebacker Jake Hansen (35) after an NCAA college football game at Memorial Stadium Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign. Illinois won the game 55-31.

Rick Danzl/The News-Gazette Bobby Roundtree's locker at the Henry Dale and Betty Smith Football Center in Champaign on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019.

Bobby Roundtree became a regular around the Smith Football Center, including here where he stopped by and chatted with former Illinois offensive coordinator Rod Smith.

Rick Danzl/The News-Gazette Bobby Roundtree's locker at the Henry Dale and Betty Smith Football Center in Champaign on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019.

Rick Danzl/The News-Gazette Bobby Roundtree's locker at the Henry Dale and Betty Smith Football Center in Champaign on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019.

Bobby Roundtree, center, tries to distract Lere Oladipo as he goes up to bowl.

Bobby Roundtree signs a poster for young fan Cohen Gibbs of Decatur after the Illinois football spring game on April 13, 2019, at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. A month later, Roundtree suffered a severe spinal cord injury in a swimming accident. He died on Friday.

Stephen Haas/The News-Gazette Illinois defensive lineman Bobby Roundtree (97) reacts after a play during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Western Illinois Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign. Illinois won the game 34-14.

Illinois defensive end Bobby Roundtree, top, tackles Northwestern running back Chad Hanaoka during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Stephen Haas/The News-Gazette Illinois defensive lineman Bobby Roundtree (97), running back Reggie Corbin (2), tight end Austin Roberts (36) and place kicker Caleb Griffin (38) sing the school song in the end zone after an NCAA college football game against Western Illinois Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign. Illinois won the game 34-14.

Stephen Haas/The News-Gazette Illinois defensive lineman Bobby Roundtree (97) chases down Penn State running back Ricky Slade (4) during the first half of an NCAA college football game at Memorial Stadium Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign.

Rutgers quarterback Artur Sitkowski looks for a receiver as Illinois defensive lineman Bobby Roundtree, left, is blocked during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, in Piscataway, N.J. (AP Photo/David Boe)

Stephen Haas/The News-Gazette Illinois defensive lineman Bobby Roundtree (97) pressures Western Illinois quarterback Sean McGuire (18) during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Western Illinois Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign. Illinois won the game 34-14.

Bobby Roundtree was part of plenty of key moments for the Illini during his two-year playing career.

Rick Danzl/The News-Gazette DL Bobby Roundtree runs through a drill during the second day of Illinois football training camp at the Campus Rec Fields Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018, on the University of Illinois campus in Urbana.

Purdue quarterback David Blough (11) slides in front of Illinois defensive lineman Bobby Roundtree (97) and Jamal Woods (91) after picking up a first down during the first half of an NCAA college football game in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

µRobin Scholz/The News-Gazette DL Bobby Roundtree during the Illinois football team's fifth day of practice at the Campus Rec fields in Urbana on Friday, August 4, 2017.

Former Illinois football players, from left, Sean Adesanya, Kendrick Green and Bobby Roundtree take a break during a training camp practice in 2017.

Stephen Haas/The News-Gazette Illinois head coach Lovie Smith celebrates with tight end Daniel Barker (87) and linebacker Jake Hansen (35) after an NCAA college football game at Memorial Stadium Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign. Illinois won the game 55-31.

Rick Danzl/The News-Gazette Bobby Roundtree's locker at the Henry Dale and Betty Smith Football Center in Champaign on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019.

Bobby Roundtree became a regular around the Smith Football Center, including here where he stopped by and chatted with former Illinois offensive coordinator Rod Smith.

Rick Danzl/The News-Gazette Bobby Roundtree's locker at the Henry Dale and Betty Smith Football Center in Champaign on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019.

Rick Danzl/The News-Gazette Bobby Roundtree's locker at the Henry Dale and Betty Smith Football Center in Champaign on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019.

Bobby Roundtree, center, tries to distract Lere Oladipo as he goes up to bowl.

Bobby Roundtree signs a poster for young fan Cohen Gibbs of Decatur after the Illinois football spring game on April 13, 2019, at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. A month later, Roundtree suffered a severe spinal cord injury in a swimming accident. He died on Friday.

Stephen Haas/The News-Gazette Illinois defensive lineman Bobby Roundtree (97) reacts after a play during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Western Illinois Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign. Illinois won the game 34-14.

Illinois defensive end Bobby Roundtree, top, tackles Northwestern running back Chad Hanaoka during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Stephen Haas/The News-Gazette Illinois defensive lineman Bobby Roundtree (97), running back Reggie Corbin (2), tight end Austin Roberts (36) and place kicker Caleb Griffin (38) sing the school song in the end zone after an NCAA college football game against Western Illinois Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign. Illinois won the game 34-14.

Stephen Haas/The News-Gazette Illinois defensive lineman Bobby Roundtree (97) chases down Penn State running back Ricky Slade (4) during the first half of an NCAA college football game at Memorial Stadium Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign.

Rutgers quarterback Artur Sitkowski looks for a receiver as Illinois defensive lineman Bobby Roundtree, left, is blocked during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, in Piscataway, N.J. (AP Photo/David Boe)

Stephen Haas/The News-Gazette Illinois defensive lineman Bobby Roundtree (97) pressures Western Illinois quarterback Sean McGuire (18) during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Western Illinois Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign. Illinois won the game 34-14.

Bobby Roundtree was part of plenty of key moments for the Illini during his two-year playing career.

Rick Danzl/The News-Gazette DL Bobby Roundtree runs through a drill during the second day of Illinois football training camp at the Campus Rec Fields Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018, on the University of Illinois campus in Urbana.

Purdue quarterback David Blough (11) slides in front of Illinois defensive lineman Bobby Roundtree (97) and Jamal Woods (91) after picking up a first down during the first half of an NCAA college football game in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

µRobin Scholz/The News-Gazette DL Bobby Roundtree during the Illinois football team's fifth day of practice at the Campus Rec fields in Urbana on Friday, August 4, 2017.

Former Illinois football players, from left, Sean Adesanya, Kendrick Green and Bobby Roundtree take a break during a training camp practice in 2017.

Robin Scholz is photo editor at The News-Gazette.

Former Illinois DE Bobby Roundtree dies at 23

Reuters 17 July, 2021 - 11:03am

The school confirmed his passing a news release.

"All of us with Illinois Athletics are shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Bobby Roundtree," athletic director Josh Whitman said. "From his first day on campus, Bobby was a leader. His work ethic, competitive fire, and drive for excellence set him apart.

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."

Roundtree suffered a severe spinal cord injury in the accident when he went home to Florida for a visit in May 2019. He had been rehabilitating in the Tampa area, where he died.

The school did not reveal a cause of death.

He frequently posted videos to Twitter highlighting the progress in his rehabilitation sessions, with the most recent coming Monday.

"He was fine. He was not sick. He just stopped breathing," Brenda McCarthy, who knew Roundtree through her role as executive director of the nonprofit group We Believe In Me, told The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill.

Roundtree played two seasons for the Illini, starting 20 games and earning All-Big Ten honorable mention honors in 2018.

"In the face of incredible adversity, he demonstrated he was, and always will 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."

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How old was Bobby Roundtree and what was his cause of death?

The US Sun 17 July, 2021 - 08:10am

News Corp is a network of leading companies in the worlds of diversified media, news, education, and information services.

The athlete was a defensive lineman for the University of Illinois and was regarded as “a leader” by his peers.

Bobby Roundtree passed away after suffering a devastating spinal injury following a swimming accident in 2019.

His cause of death has yet to be released.

The football player was paralyzed and had been sharing his rehab journey with his social media followers.

Illinois athletics director Josh Whitman announced Roundtree’s death on social media, writing: “From his first day on campus, Bobby was a leader. His work ethic, competitive fire, and drive for excellence set him apart. 

“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 Illinois football team also paid tribute to him on Twitter, writing: “The Illini Family has lost one of its inspirational leaders with the passing of Bobby Roundtree Friday in the Tampa Bay area.

"RIP Bobby Roundtree. We will miss you."

Roundtree was 23 years old at the time of his death.

The 6-foot-5, 255-pound Largo, Florida native was receiving early attention from NFL scouts his sophomore year and was likely to become one of the Big Ten's best pass rushers just before his injury.

Despite his incident, he still kept a great mood, even as he told reporters a year after his accident that he was still going strong.

"I learned that I'm strong,” Roundtree said in 2020.

"I probably wouldn't think I'd be able to do this, but here I am doing it. It taught me also to always have a backup plan."

"I was just thinking about the NFL, but I got hurt. One door closes and more open. It taught me I'm a strong young man. I've still got goals to reach, and I'll reach them," he said.

"I just want to show everybody anything is possible," Roundtree continued.

"You can be on top of the world and something happens. Things might not go as planned, but there are things out there for everybody.

"I just want to show everybody that this injury isn't going to overcome me. I'm going to beat this. I'm going to be successful."

Roundtree was a standout player for the Illini from 2017 to 2018. 

Roundtree was also honored with the Dick Butkus Outstanding Defensive Player award in 2018.

The athlete had been in rehab in Tampa ever since the injury.

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