UPDATE: Head trauma not cause in Bitsko’s death

Matthew Merchant

There is no indication of head trauma in the death of Kent State football player Jason Bitsko, Portage County Coroner Dean DePerro said Friday.

“Sleep apnea is very difficult to see under a microscope, as are things like seizures. I can tell you that there doesn’t appear to be any signs of a head trauma or concussion,” DePerro said. “And I’m happy to be able to say that. It’s not the final word, but it should put some people’s minds at ease.”

DePerro said that as of Friday, the coroner’s office is “pretty certain” Bitsko’s death is of natural causes. The official cause of death will not be known or released for two to three weeks when the blood and toxicology reports are completed.

“If this young man just had an unfortunate disease, we are going to figure that out,” he said. “And mostly for the parents, to let them know.”

DePerro said that his office has been in contact with the football coaches and has been reassured that Bitsko, who was going to be the team’s center lineman, had not had any hard physical contact in practice.

DePerro said his office is gathering more information to determine Bitsko’s cause of death.

“As far as we know, he was healthy up until the time he went to bed that night,” DePerro said.

Matt Merchant is copy desk chief for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].