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Jul 23, 2014 03:39 AM EDT

WSU Football Player Dies during Workout

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Sean Afryl, a 22-year-old Winona State University student, collapsed and died during an on-campus work-out session with his football teammates, Monday evening.

Afryl recently transferred to Winona from the University of Illinois, where he played football for three seasons.

Winona State Coach Tom Sawyer said that it's "gut wrenching" when a teen loses his/her life. Sawyer described Afryl as a fun-loving guy with a dynamic personality, who is passionate about teaching as well as football.

"People clinged to him really fast. The people at Winona State have opened their arms to him. It's just a sad day, and he'll be with us forever," My Fox Twin Cities reports.

The 6-foot-3-inch, 310-pound offensive lineman was participating in pre-season conditioning drills with his teammates when he collapsed on the field. He was later pronounced dead at a nearby local hospital.

A former coach told Fox 9 News that Afryl died of cardiac arrest. The temperatures on Monday was estimated to be around 90 degrees on the field. Sawyer said that medical personnel have not yet confirmed about the role of "heat" in the player's death.

Afryl, who was born on a Super Bowl Sunday, was considered to be one of the best players in the country. He graduated with a degree in political science from the University of Illinois. After a year post his graduation, Afryl decided to complete his 2 years of eligibility at WSU.

Afryl's mother told Fox 9 News that her son had a big heart. She described him as "an incredibly giving man who brought love and smiles and help to everybody. There is no mother that could be any prouder than me to call him their son."

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