'Everybody liked Fred. That's the best way to say it'

'Everybody liked Fred. That's the best way to say it' »Play Video

CORVALLIS, Ore. - An autopsy scheduled for Friday morning should shed more light on why an Oregon State University student-athlete died just days shy of his 20th birthday.

Fred Thompson died Wednesday, Dec. 7, after collapsing while playing basketball with some of his Beaver football teammate at the Dixon Recreation Center.

"This is just one of those things you just never want to be a part of," said Mike Riley, the head football coach. "I just enjoyed him. He was fun and he had a great, great smile.

"We will just miss him," said Riley, who was in Seattle on a recruiting trip when he learned the news. "Everybody liked Fred. That's the best way to say it."

Many student-athletes found out about the news on social media sites. OSU put out an official statement Wednesday evening.

Riley and other officials held a press conference on Thursday. Lt. Greg Hastings with the Oregon State Police said, by law, officers must conduct a death investigation.

Oregon State Medical Examniner Dr. Karin Gundson will conduct an autopsy on Friday morning.

Some students who saw the aftermath of Thompson's collapse took to Facebook after the incident, criticizing the rec center staff and paramedics for not doing more to help Thompson.

Hastings reviewed the timeline of events Wednesday.

"People that he was playing basketball with alerted Dixon Recreation staff," Hastings said. "They called 911. As I understand it, a staff member responded."

Three minutes later, campus public safety officers arrived on scene. Fire department personnel started arriving on scene, and medical care at the scene lasted about 20 minutes before Thompson was taken to the hospital.

A defribulator at the Dixon Rec center was not used.

"One was initally brought by the staff member but before the staff member could utilize that equipment, the fire department and medical personnel were starting to arrive," Hastings said.

The life-saving effforts may have been in vain, however.

"Dr. Gundson believes even if EMTs were standing in the recreation center, at the time that Fred collapsed, they probably would not have been able to save him because the cardiac arythmia he suffered is extremely difficult to treat."