The mother of a freshman football player at Trinity University in Deerfield says her son was “an amazing kid” and an honor student after he suddenly died earlier this week.
Trinity International University President Nicholas Perrin said in a letter to students and faculty on Thursday that the university experienced a “tragic and unexpected death” of incoming freshman student Avery Gilbert.
Gilbert had been on campus for just his third day on Wednesday when he was found by a fellow teammate in the Johnson Hall entryway.
Gilbert had collapsed and was unresponsive and not breathing, Perrin said.
Paramedics arrived quickly and administered CPR and other lifesaving measures before transporting Gilbert to Highland Park Hospital.
The man was pronounced dead around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
An official cause of death is pending but the incident is believed to have been caused by a pre-existing medical condition triggered by an allergen, his family and Perrin said.
Gilbert was from Lake Villa and a 2022 graduate of Grayslake North High School.
He was known for his “infectious energy, generosity, and joy.”
From the first day he showed up on campus, Gilbert was “all in” and ready to participate in community life and be the “best wide receiver” he could be, Perrin said.
The man’s mother told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that her son, who was adopted, “was an amazing kid” and an honor student.
Gilbert, who was 18 years old, had earned football scholarships to go to college.
The man’s mother said she dropped off Gilbert and her other son at football camp last Sunday.
A GoFundMe account was created by Gilbert’s brother, Joshua Real, to help raise money for a memorial fund.
“Avery was my brother and showed me what strength and perseverance genuinely mean in this life. He encouraged everyone to harbor strength, courage, and integrity and, most importantly, to show up for themselves every day – no matter the circumstance,” Real said.
The university is expected to hold a memorial service in his honor.
The school has also made counselors available to its students, including the football team, following the death.
“I regret that I didn’t have the opportunity to meet this remarkable man, at least not in this life. In due course, we will be holding a memorial service in Avery’s honor. For now, Coach Tillman has also informed me that the 2022 Trojan football season will be dedicated to Avery Gilbert as we honor his name and #87,” Perrin said.