On Tuesday, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Maine released the official cause of death for former Orange County football player Darius Minor, who collapsed and died July 24 during workouts at the University of Maine.
Minor died of acute aortic dissection with cardiac tamponade with hypertensive cardiovascular disease as a contributing factor, according to office administrator Mark Belserene. Tuesday’s release said Minor died of natural causes.
“Darius will always be with us. We take inspiration from his strength and courage, his aspirations and character,” Maine head coach Joe Harasymiak said Tuesday in a separate release from the Maine athletic department. “Darius has touched the lives of so many, including countless numbers in the Black Bear athletics community. Our thoughts continue to be with his family and friends.”
Maine will observe a moment of silence in Minor’s honor before its season opener Aug. 30 at home against New Hampshire.
An aortic dissection is a tear in the inner layer of the aorta, which is the largest blood vessel branching off the heart. Cardiac tamponade is compression of the heart caused by the collection of fluid in the sac surrounding the heart.
The release cites hypertensive cardiovascular disease as a contributing factor. Hypertensive cardiovascular disease refers to a a group of disorders, which includes heart failure, ischemic disease and ventricular hypertrophy, which is extensive thickening of the heart muscle.
Minor underwent annual physicals throughout high school and Harasymiak said in a July press conference that he underwent another when he arrived at Maine.
Minor, 18, the son of Charity Wines of Locust Grove, was a true freshman defensive back on the Maine football team. He was 15 minutes into a non-contact drill when he told a coach he felt like he was going to pass out.
Minor collapsed moments later and efforts by Maine athletic trainers and emergency responders to revive him were unsuccessful.