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May 19, 2011UPDATE: AUDIO - BRENT VENABLES TALKS ABOUT PASSING OF BOX AND COMMENTS ON HIS DEATH.
According to the El Reno Police Department, officers and medics from Mercy Hospital in El Reno responded to 1219 S Reno where they found Oklahoma senior linebacker Austin Box unresponsive.
Box was transported to Mercy Hospital in by ambulance before he was later transferred to Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City by air ambulance.
HERE IS OUR LAST INTERVIEW WITH AUSTIN BOX FROM APRIL 11TH, 2011
After issuing a statement from the El Reno Police department saying there was no further information on Box's condition, we now know through multiple reports that Box has died.
Oklahoma City's KFOR-TV was the first media outlet to verify Box's passing through the Medical Examiner's Office. And that report has been confirmed by multiple outlets, including SoonerScoop.com.
Joe Castiglione issued a statement on behalf of the athletics department.
"Austin Box will be greatly missed by his many friends and teammates in the Athletics Department and all across campus. Grief counseling is being made available to members of the team and his close friends."
OU President David Boren also released the following statement:
"The University family is deeply saddened by the tragic death of student-athlete Austin Box. Our hearts go out to his family and friends."
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops is currently out of the country vacationing with his family.
Box had become a staple for the Sooners at middle linebacker at the end of the 2010 season after being injured for a large part of his OU career. Box had been suffering through a back injury and was limited in spring practices last March and April.
Box also just received his diploma last weekend.
The senior-to-be logged 37 total tackles last season, but his presence was an immediate boost to a Sooner defense which struggled in the run game throughout the early part of the season.
He was expected to take over the starting job next fall even though he had talked about giving up football with defensive coordinator Brent Venables following the 2010 season.
But Venables convinced Box to remain a part of the program, to take things slow during the spring in an effort to allow his back to heal so he would be ready for the start of the 2011 season.