Kent State football player Jason Bitsko died of enlarged heart, coroner said

Jason Bitsko

Richie Mulhall

The Portage County Coroner’s Office ruled that Kent State football player Jason Bitsko died as a result of having an enlarged heart, the Ravenna Record-Courier reported Dec. 23.

Bitsko’s death, which appeared to be natural, was attributed to an enlarged heart, medically known as cardiomegaly, according to Portage County Coroner Dr. Dean Deperro’s autopsy findings released Tuesday.

The report received by Deperro revealed that Bitsko’s heart was about twice the size of a normal heart, placing Bitsko at risk for cardiac arrhythmia, or abnormal heartbeat.

“It is speculated that Mr. Bitsko went to sleep, had an arrhythmia and died,” Deperro’s office told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Deperro said in late August the coroner’s office was “pretty certain” Bitsko’s death was of natural causes after ruling out the possibility of head trauma. The official cause of death would not be known or released until the blood and toxicology reports were completed.

Bitsko, a 21-year-old junior who was set to be the Flashes’ starting center this season, was found dead in his off-campus apartment August 20. His roommates found him unresponsive in his bedroom after he didn’t show up to practice earlier that morning.

Bitsko graduated from Wayne High School in Huber Heights, Ohio, and was studying marketing at Kent State. His senior teammate Chris Humphrey said back in August that his friend “had a big heart, both literally and hypothetically.”

In light of the coroner’s findings and given the positive influence Bitsko had on his friends and family as well as his team, Humphrey was right on both counts.

“I’ve always looked up to Jason,” Humphrey said. “We came in together, so he was one of the first people I met coming into Kent playing football.”

“If there was something wrong with Jason, you would never know it because once he was around us, he never showed any weakness,” he said. “He just gave off positive vibes, and he was just fun to be around.”

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].