The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

City College student Justin McAllister dies after football conditioning

City+College+student+Justin+McAllister+dies+after+football+conditioning

Justin McAllister, a 19-year-old City College athlete, died Monday night due to heart failure after collapsing during a routine team practice at Hughes Stadium.

According to an article from the Sacramento Bee, the 6-foot-7 Panthers offensive tackle “struggled to regain his breath after a routine 20-minute conditioning session inside Hughes Stadium under the supervision of coaches and trainers.” 

The news comes as a tragic shock to his family, fellow teammates and members of the program. McAllister had no underlying health conditions, nor did the practice push him harder than normal, according to statements from his coaches and teammates in the Bee article, where a family friend also confirmed there will be an autopsy to investigate further.

McAllister was a reserve lineman residing in West Sacramento, who was a three-sport star at Delta High School in Clarksburg, according to an article from Fox 40. He transferred to City College after being with Division II Western Oregon University in Monmouth last season, per the Bee article, and played his first game with Panthers teammates last Saturday, against American River College Beavers.

Sacramento City College’s Justin McAllister (68) shakes hands after the loss in the preseason game against American River College at the Hughes Stadium on Sept. 2, 2023. Photo credit: Dianne Rose

A statement by City College President Albert Garcia reads, in part, “My heart and support goes out to all of them and, of course, to Justin’s family. I also want to stress the emotional impact, the grief, of this on the college community overall.” 

City College Panthers head coach Dannie Walker and defensive coordinator John Herlihy conducted a candlelight vigil for teammates to attend around 11 p.m. Monday to say goodbye to their lost teammate, according to the Bee article. They shared hugs and stories of the man they only got to know briefly, but who nevertheless left a lasting impact on their lives.

City College Panthers football teammates spell out McAllister’s initials and jersey No. 68 with candles at the entrance to Hughes Stadium during a candlelight vigil held Monday night, Sept. 11, 2023. The handmade memorial is still up in his honor. Photo credit: Emma Richman / [email protected]

Garcia closed his statement by saying, “We never imagine that this kind of tragedy will come to our campus, our community, our family. It is such a challenge to make any sense of it. Please, let us help each other in the coming days, weeks, and months as we grapple with this.”

Garcia urged students and employees to utilize campus mental health resources. City College’s Mental Health Services can arrange personal therapy sessions, and employees can access their mental health assistance options through an EAP flier.

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