On September 16, 2017, during a routine tackle in a game against Texas A&M Kingsville, Midwestern State’s 19-year-old Cornerback Robert Grays injured his neck and sadly succumbed to his injuries four days later, surrounded by his family. While injuries are common in football, a death related to one is rare, much less two. Grays was the second football player who passed away that week. Clayton Geib of College of Wooster, died on September 17, after complaining of “not feeling well” after a game the day before.
The entire Lone Star Conference was saddened and shaken by the young football player’s death. On September, 20, MSU’s president Suzanne Shipley issued a statement which called Grays an “inspiration on and off the field to those around him, and he will be remembered with love and affection by his friends, classmates, coaches, and teammates.”
Numerous students wrote of Grays “infectious smile” and of his warm personality. Grays was a business major and had just turned nineteen.
Upon news of the Grays death, Eastern New Mexico University started a fundraising campaign to raise money for the Grays family. ENMU sold t-shirts with the ‘24 Strong’ slogan in reference to the 24 teams in the LSC. ENMU President, Dr. J.S. Elwell tweeted a response after hearing of Grays death, “we are sorry to hear this. Our thoughts and prayers will be with his family and friends and your campus community.”
The Hounds were scheduled to play MSU on their last home game of the season, November 11, 2017 and honored Grays with a moment of silence before kickoff.
Prior to action, the ENMU community presented the Grays family with a $5000 check in honor of the late Robert Grays.