Officials in Nevada said Monday that former Abraham Lincoln football star Austin Ebertowski may have died as a result of a medical condition that preceded a crash Friday evening in Reno.
According to the Nevada State Patrol and the Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office, Ebertowski, 25, was driving north on Interstate 580 in downtown Reno when his vehicle headed off the highway at a low speed and hit a fence.
The preliminary investigation indicates he died of a medical condition, said Trooper Hannah DeGoey of the Nevada State Patrol. The impact of the crash wasn’t strong enough to cause fatal injuries, she said.
Ebertowski was taken to a Reno area hospital and was declared dead at 8:10 p.m. Friday, according to the county medical examiner’s office.
Ebertowski was a 2011 graduate of Abraham Lincoln, where he was a Class 4-A state champion in the 100-meter dash. His hand-held time of 10.3 seconds ranks third on the World-Herald’s Western Iowa all-time track charts.
In football, he led the Lynx to a 9-1 record and a Class 4-A state playoff berth, as well as A.L.’s first Missouri River Conference football championship. He rushed for 2,078 yards with 39 touchdowns as a senior, averaging 13 yards per carry. He was the Nonpareil’s City Football Player of the Year in 2010.
Ebertowski later played football for the University of Northern Iowa before transferring to Morningside College.
Ebertowski had obvious athletic talent, but he was much more than an athlete, said Lewis Central football coach Justin Kammrad, who was the head coach at A.L. during Ebertowski’s sophomore, junior and senior seasons.
“The biggest thing about him was the type of person he really was,” Kammrad said. “Obviously, he was pretty reserved, but once you got to know him he was just an outstanding kid, intelligent with a great sense of humor.
“He was willing to do whatever he had to do to make himself and everyone else around him better.”
Ebertowski’s speed and talent were apparent early, Kammrad said.
“He played for us as a sophomore,” the coach said. “We knew the first time he started that he was going to be something special.”
In one of his first starts, he broke loose for 451 yards against Sioux City East, fifth most in state history.
Tributes continued to pour in Monday on social media.
Earlier, his mother, Lindsay, shared the news in a Facebook post, describing it as a bad dream.
“I don’t know how to do this but I will for you! Austy I love you so much. ... I will forever cherish every wonderful memory you have given me thru the years! Until we meet again my sweet Angel!”
Walter Olsen coached Ebertowski through youth sports. Austin was the same age as Olsen’s own son, Alex.
“He was a good kid, a really good kid,” Olsen said. “He had a good heart and he worked, really, really hard.”
Funeral arrangements are pending.