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18-Year-Old College Student Dies After Becoming ‘Unresponsive’ While Exercising on Campus


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An college freshman collapsed and died yesterday while exercising on campus, according to a statement from his university.

Eighteen-year-old Steven Spellman “became unresponsive” during his workout on the campus of Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, according to the statement.

Attempts to revive him at the scene were unsuccessful. He was transported to a local hospital “where he was pronounced dead.”

No other information was immediately available.

Bob Romantic, GCU’s executive director over the Office of Communications and Public Relations, told The Western Journal in an email that the school would “defer to [the student’s family] for any further comments or information.

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GCU is a private Christian university, “rooted in the Christian Faith and Biblical values,” according to its website.

“GCU is built on a foundation of ethics, missional work and integrating the Christian worldview in all areas of academics and the campus,” the website says.

According to a news release from August, the university enrolled “its largest incoming class ever of approximately 9,700 expected new students for the 2022-23 academic year.”

The school was founded in 1949 in Prescott, Arizona, as a “Baptist-affiliated institution with an emphasis on religious studies” — i.e., a school to train preachers — before relocating to its current location two years later.

It became the nation’s first for-profit Christian college in 2004, when it was sold to Significant Education, LLC, following a period of financial difficulties that led the school’s trustees to take on debt.

The university’s entire statement appears below:

“It is with heavy hearts and great sadness that we share that the student involved in a medical emergency last night on campus has passed away.

“Steven Spellman, an 18-year-old freshman majoring in Business Management, was exercising in the Lopes Performance Center when he became unresponsive. CPT and an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) were administered onsite and the Phoenix Fire Department transported Steven to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.

“Steven’s family has been notified. His father, Brad Spellman, is a Police Aide in the GCU Public Safety Office, and his brother, Nick, is also a student at GCU.

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“Please keep Steven’s family and friends, the entire Public Safety team and the GCU community in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time as we grieve the loss of a member of the GCU family.

“Be comforted during this time by knowing that God is always there for us. ‘Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.’ (1 Peter 5:8)

“The Office of Student Care is in contact with Steven’s suitemates and friends as well as employees and students who were present at the LPC to offer support and counseling. Pastor Tim Griffin’s office and the entire Student Affairs staff are also available on the second floor of Building 26 or by calling 602-639-7007 to assist anyone who needs support.”

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