University of Ottawa football team's Francis Perron tragically passed away last Saturday. He was 25.
Perron was a 25-year-old defensive lineman for the Gees-Gees football team at the University of Ottawa. The fifth-year player was also a mechanical engineering student and two-time U Sports Academic All-Canadian. Francis Perron has been a mainstay for the Gee-Gees, having played in every game as a true freshman and being a consistent defender in 2019. He passed away after the season-opener, rocking the entire campus.
Francis Perron, a model student-athlete
Before the University of Ottawa, Francis Perron attended Cegep de Sherbrooke, a public university in Quebec. He played football there from 2014-2016, led the RSEQ Division 2 Conference with 12 sacks, and was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2016.
Francis Perron's sudden death is sadly not the first to rock the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees. Back in 2017, 24-year-old defensive lineman Loic Kayembe passed away in his sleep. Kayembe was also in his third season with the team.
Several staff members of the University of Ottawa and the Gee-Gees football team have shared kind words about Francis Perron and highlighted the type of student-athlete.
"Our hearts are broken. In losing Francis, we've lost an outstanding person, teammate, player and veteran leader that made us better in every way possible. He was someone that loved and was loved by everyone that is a part of our program. We are pulling together as a family and giving everyone the best support possible as we navigate this very difficult situation." - Gee-Gees head coach Marcel Bellefeuille.
"We are devastated by the tragic news of Francis' passing. Francis exemplified everything it means to be a Gee-Gee student-athlete and representative of our sports community at Ottawa. We have ensured that our football program, as well as all Gee-Gees athletes and staff, have support resources available to them throughout this difficult time." - Director of Varsity Athletics Sue Hylland.
"A bright, passionate, and caring person, Francis poured himself into his craft as a player and his academic pursuit of becoming an engineer. He was as big of a star as on the field in the classroom, becoming a Mulitple-time U Sports Academic All-Canadian while studying Mechanical Engineering...Francis' memory will live on through a vast network of loving family, friends, and all those whose lives he touched...the thoughts of all members of our community are with you. I would also like to thank our colleagues at the University of Toronto for their steadfast support during this tragic event." - University of Ottawa president Jacques Fremont. Fremont also released the initial statement of Franic Perron passing away shortly after Saturday's game.
There have been several tragic deaths within the college football realm, whether from accidents, injuries, or sudden deaths like Perron. College football has been trying to crack down on making sure players aren't being overworked and suffering from heat exhaustion and are taking all precautions with safety on the field.
The cause of Francis Perron's death is unknown at this time.