Football Player Jamain Stephens Might Not Have Died From COVID-19, University Retracts Claim

The high school that announced football player Jamain Stephens died due to complications from COVID-19 is backtracking its statement. On Wednesday, Central Catholic High School released a statement and said Stephen's cause of death is unknown. Stephens died at the age of 20 and was attending California University of Pennsylvania.

"When we heard the news of Jamain Stephens' death, we as a community were devastated," Brother Tony Baginski, FSC, Principal of Central Catholic, said in the statement as reported by USA Today. "He was well loved by everyone in our community, and in an effort to get the news out about his death in a timely manner, we mistakenly attributed his death without official confirmation on cause of death. We had obtained the information about his passing from close friends of Jamain, who reached out to us with the news. We apologize for this error, and this information has since been removed from our Facebook announcement dated 9/8/2020. At this time, we do not have official confirmation on his cause of death."

Stephens' high school was the only one to mention COVID-19 being the cause of death. When California University announced the news, the cause of death wasn't revealed. "Jamain was such a wonderful student with a smile on his face every time you saw him," California University of Pennsylvania athletic director Dr. Karen Hjerpe said in a statement, as reported by USA Today. "His personality was contagious and he made such a positive impact on everyone he met."

When the NCAA heard the news, it went to Twitter to release a statement, which said: "We join Cal U in mourning the loss of Jamain Stephens. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and teammates during this time." Stephens played in 32 games for the Division II school from 2017-2019. California Univeristy was not playing football since it's conference, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, elected not to have fall sports due to the pandemic. Stephens was the son of former Pittsburgh Steels and Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman Jamain Stephens.

"He was such a positive person that really cared about everyone," said A.J. Beatty, who plays football at the University of North Carolina and was a teammate of Stephens' at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh. "Every single person at Central knew 'Juice.' He had the ability to take over an entire room of people with his positive energy."