‘Overjoyed’: Mother of Stetson football player who died after practice finds hope in court appeal

The mother of the former Stetson football player who died after collapsing on a football field in 2017 said she got the best late Christmas gift: an appeals court ruling in her son’s favor.

Former Stetson University student-athlete Nicholas Blakely died of cardiac arrest after practice. His mother, Michelle Wilson, said she is hoping to finally get justice for her son.


“You know, it’s been a struggle. I go each day. I have my good days. I have my bad days. But I found my strength,” Wilson said.

According to court records, in April 2017 Blakely complained to team trainers about chest congestion, trouble breathing, his heart hurting, and more. The team allowed Blakely to keep practicing.

Read: Florida appeals court overturns ruling in college football player’s 2017 death

In August of that year, he felt dizzy at practice, collapsed and later died of cardiac arrest at the hospital.

“You know, those red flags, those warning signs, if you have a school that doesn’t screen on the front end, that screams you need to go get evaluated immediately. Because most young men, you don’t get that opportunity. Rarely, before they go down and collapse,” attorney Lance Reins said.

Read: Stetson University football player dies after collapsing at practice

Wilson sued Stetson for damages. But a judge ruled a liability waiver Blakely signed prevented her from suing the school. Last week an appeals court changed that, ruling the waiver wasn’t clear.

Stetson University’s attorneys sent a statement saying it cannot comment on the particulars of the case other than to say it is exploring all appellate options.

Read: Damar Hamlin breathing on his own, able to talk after on-field collapse

Wilson said the ruling means she gets a second chance at justice for her son.

“Nick has been gone five years now. And so this has been a journey. And so I was overjoyed to hear that the ruling was overturned,” she said.

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