College football player’s death no longer attributed to COVID-19

The Pennsylvania high school Jamain Stephens attended has issued a correction after initially saying the 20-year-old football player died from COVID-19 complications.

In a Tuesday Facebook post, Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, where Stephens graduated from in 2017, said that “Jamain went to his eternal reward after suffering from complications of COVID-19.”

On Wednesday, the school updated the post, saying it did not have the cause of death.

“When we heard the news of Jamain Stephens’ death, we as a community were devastated,” Brother Tony Baginski, FSC, Principal of Central Catholic, said in the Wednesday statement. “He was well loved by everyone in our community, and in an effort to get the news out about his death in a timely manner, we mistakenly attributed his death without official confirmation on cause of death. We had obtained the information about his passing from close friends of Jamain, who reached out to us with the news. We apologize for this error, and this information has since been removed from our Facebook announcement dated 9/8/2020. At this time, we do not have official confirmation on his cause of death.”

Stephens was a defensive lineman at the California University of Pennsylvania and the son of Jamain Stephens, who played five seasons in the NFL from 1997-2001 with the Steelers and Bengals.

“Jamain was such a wonderful student with a smile on his face every time you saw him,” said the university’s Athletic Director, Dr. Karen Hjerpe, in a statement. “His personality was contagious and he made such a positive impact on everyone he met.”

The 6-foot-3 Stephens appeared in 32 games in three prior seasons at Cal U. The Div. II school was not playing football this fall with COVID-19 health concerns forcing sports to be halted by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. University officials did not detail his cause of death.

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