Tributes Pour in For College Linebacker Who Died After Tonsil Surgery: 'We Lost a Diamond'
Family and friends of a college football player are in mourning after the freshman died following complications from a minor surgery.
AJ Schlatter, a 20-year-old linebacker for the Portland State Vikings, suffered an apparent blood clot Sunday, two days after he underwent routine surgery to remove his tonsils.
In a Facebook post Monday, the Canby, Oregon native's father revealed he tried desperately to resuscitate AJ while waiting for paramedics to arrive.
"We lost our son tonight," began James Schlatter. "I failed my son tonight. Believe he might have developed a blood clot after his surgery for the removal of his tonsils on Friday. I could not resuscitate him nor did the best efforts by ems and the emergency room staff."
Mr. Schlatter went on to praise the man his son had become.
"He was such a inspiration to me and I was and am so PROUD to be his father. In his 20+ years he became a greater man then I could ever dream of becoming," Schlatter wrote.
AJ's coach also released a statement about the linebacker. While keeping the focus on the loss suffered by the Schlatters, Viking Head Coach Bruce Barnum also praised AJ's dedication to the team.
"My heart is with the Schlatter family. They are our focus right now," Barnum said in a statement. "We lost a diamond that will never be replaced. He was the definition of what we are about at PSU."
Originally a walk-on at PSU, AJ earned a full scholarship with the program through his hard work and dedication, the statement reads.
PSU Director of Athletics Mark Rountree wrote: "He represented his family and Portland State with passion, courage, and humility that made us all proud. He will be missed...the loss of AJ will be tough on our family."
Likewise, AJ's parents wanted to send a message to families everywhere.
"Parents hug and love your kids today. Kids tell your parents just how much you love them. Better yet show each other each and every day," his father wrote. "I am so thankful I could and did tell AJ each and every time we talked either in person or not just how much I loved him. Don't waste an opportunity."