SFU QB dies of apparent heart failure

MATT KIELTYKA, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:25 AM ET

The starting quarterback of SFU's football team died in hospital yesterday morning after an apparent heart failure at the school's swimming pool, school officials said.

Lifeguards pulled Bernd Dittrich, 21, out of the diving pool at the Burnaby campus after he was found unconscious around 5:45 p.m. Tuesday.

Don MacLachlan, SFU's spokesman, said lifeguards attempted first aid on the Austrian student but he died in hospital yesterday.

"Our hearts go out to Bernd's family," said SFU senior director of athletics, Dr. David Murphy in a release. "Bernd was not only a great athlete on the field, but also an inspiring individual in all aspects of life."

The exact cause of death has yet to be determined, but the school - through football coach Dave Johnson - learned Dittrich had a previously undetected heart condition.

"It's tragic, especially when you have a football player and fit as a fiddle," said MacLachlan.

Dittrich was named the team's starting quarterback in 2008 and helped the Clan earn a 5-3 record, their best since 2003. A shoulder injury limited Dittrich to just six games this past season.


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