SUMMIT, NJ — The Morris County Medical Examiner’s Office, which provides services to Morris, Sussex and Warren Counties, today determined that the death of Warren Hills quarterback Evan Murray was caused by a massive intra-abdominal hemorrhage — or massive internal bleeding — due to a laceration of the spleen.
Doctor Ronald Suarez, the Morris County Medical Examiner, conducted an autopsy on Murray Sept. 26, one day after he passed away after being forced out the Warren Hills versus Summit football game.
During the examination, Suarez determined that the spleen was abnormally enlarged, thus making it more susceptible to injury. There was no evidence of head trauma or heart disease. The manner of death was accidental.
Murray, 17, who started the Sept. 25 football game
against Summit but was forced out of the game just before halftime, and was taken from the field after a Summit interception and subsequent return late in the second quarter.
Soon, an ambulance could be seen on the Warren Hills sideline, which then quickly transported Murray to Morristown Medical Center, where he died.
A three-year starter for the football team, Murray also played baseball and basketball at Warren Hills.
After learning of the devastating tragedy, Summit Superintendent of Schools June Chang issued the following statement:
“On behalf of Coach Kostibos, Principal Sears, Athletic Director Lockhart, the Summit athletic department and our entire community, I offer my heartfelt condolences to the Murray family and the Warren Hills community for the loss of their son, teammate and friend, Evan Murray. The loss of someone so young and suddenly is tragic and we stand together with the Warren Hills community during this time of grief."
Chang e-mailed the Summit community on September 26 to inform them that he, along with Kostibos, Lockhart, and Director of Guidance Laura Kaplan, had met with the football team that morning hours to offer support.
"We addressed the students and gave them an opportunity to speak. Laura provided information about support services and how the students can access help," wrote Chang. "We will have continuing counseling available at Summit High School on Monday for our staff."
The district also made support services available at Summit High School September 28 for staff and students.
Grief and crisis counselors, and similar support services, have been made available by the Warren Hills Regional School District to the Warren Hills school and football community for those affected by the tragedy.
Visitation will be September 30, from noon to 9 p.m. at Safe Discovery Church, 33 Brass Castle Road in Washington Township. Murray's funeral will be October 1 at 11 a.m., also at the church.
Murray, an only child, is survived by his parents. The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Evan Murray Scholarship Fund, and sent to Warren Hills Memorial Home, 234 West Washington Road, Washington, NJ 07882.
campaign has been set up in Murray's memory to help his family in their time of need and. to date, has generated nearly than $50,000 in donations. A post on the page summarizes the community's admiration and respect for Murray, and the depth of their loss. It reads:
"Evan was a warrior-poet if I ever knew one; his strength and physical demeanor -- though on their own intimidating -- always rested quietly in light of his immense gentleness. A kind leader, a fierce student, a loyal friend, and composed athlete who will be greatly missed by our Warren Hills Community. Usually it's a Great Day To Be a Blue Streak, but today it's a sad one."