A 19-year-old Wheaton College dies after being accidentally struck by a hammer while volunteering at a track and field competition on Saturday in suburban Chicago, according to the Chicago Tribune.
At around 4:15 p.m. on April 22, Ethan Roser, who was studying to become a minister at Wheaton College, a “Christian, liberal-arts school located about 20 miles west of Chicago,” was volunteering at a track and field competition in Lawson Field when tragedy struck.
Authorities say the Wheaton College student, who was a freshman transfer from Cincinnati and was a member of the soccer team, was struck by a hammer, a 16-pound metal ball that is attached to a wire, in the back of the head during a hammer throw event.
Roser was reportedly standing in the middle of the field when he was struck by the hammer.
When emergency medical services arrived at the scene, Roser—who was unconscious—was transported to the Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, where medical staff pronounced the Wheaton College student dead.
— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) April 24, 2017
At this time, it is unknown what Roser was doing on the field or what his volunteer duties were when he was struck by a hammer.
“We know he’s with Jesus,” said the Wheaton College student’s father, the Rev. Mark Roser. “And the fact that he’s in paradise is a great source of comfort to us.”
In a Facebook post, the Wheaton College student’s brother released the following statement: “This afternoon, my youngest brother Ethan, who was just 19 years old, was called home to be with our Lord.”
“We are in shock and struggling to comprehend how we will live without him. Ethan lived a powerful life, he was studying at Wheaton, in preparation to be a minister. Ethan would want you to know that although we face many setbacks and struggles in life that there are great victory and triumphant glory in knowing and following Jesus.”
“Death never has the final word because Jesus overcame death and has prepared a place for us in heaven with the great ones,” the statement continued. “Although we sow in tears, we will reap in joy when we see him again in paradise.”
“We love you all very much and we’re truly grateful for your prayers and encouragement. We will keep you updated on his memorial celebration service.”
— K-LOVE News (@KLOVEnews) April 23, 2017
The victim’s friend Max Schaafsma stated that “he was really encouraging and fun to be around.”
Kevin Lynch, another friend of the Wheaton College student, said that he first met Roser when he moved into his dormitory in January of this year.
Lynch said, “He was always laughing. He was fun to be around. He loved evangelizing, telling people about Jesus. He was passionate about his faith, he was a passionate person. He left a legacy here, I don’t doubt it.”
“It’s really hard to believe that it happened at all,” said a Wheaton College student Bethany Litteral. “You have a lot of questions. You want to ask why would something like this happen? But knowing Ethan you know that he had an eternal hope in Christ, so I have absolutely no doubt that he is rejoicing with Him now.”
— Media Beast (@Mediabeast3) April 23, 2017
After the Wheaton College student died during a hammer throw event, his family, friends, and several Wheaton College students gathered at the Pierce Chapel Saturday night for a candlelight vigil to mourn the loss of the college student.
In a statement, the Wheaton College President Philip Ryken said: “We are deeply grieved, but, because of our faith in Christ, not without hope. We ask people to pray for Ethan’s family, his friends, and our campus community.”
A local medical examiner will conduct an autopsy on Monday.
[Featured Image by MJFelt/iStock]