(Deerfield Beach, FL) — A high school football star’s death in Broward County is being ruled a suicide by train and is prompting his friends to confront mental illness.
A candlelight vigil was held last night at Deerfield Beach High School for 17-year-old Bryce Gowdy, a wide-receiver prospect headed to Georgia Tech who committed suicide this week by standing in the path of a freight train in Broward County.
His death came just days before Gowdy was to leave for college at Georgia Tech, which had given him a football scholarship. A DBHS teammate tells NBC 6 mental illness is very serious, and it’s hard for others to understand what someone might be going through.
The death of a Florida teen football star fatally struck by a freight train has been ruled a suicide, officials said.
Gowdy’s mom, Shibbon Winelle, said in a video posted to her Facebook page the teen had been “talking in circles” and asking “a lot of questions about spirituality and life” in the days before his death.
She said both she and her son battled their own personal “demons,” alluding to mental health struggles.
“I said, ‘Bryce, you have to dig within and fight these demons that you’re fighting,’” Winelle said.
“I told him I wasn’t strong enough to help him right now, and I have my own demons that I was trying to fight.”
She said the family had recently become homeless and she last saw him when she asked him to get her favorite blanket from the car.
He never returned, and hours later his body was found near train tracks in Deerfield Beach.
Georgia Teach mourned Gowdy’s death in a tweet posted by the team’s coach, Geoff Collins.
“Our entire Georgia Tech football family is devastated by the news of Bryce’s passing,” Collins wrote.
“Bryce was an outstanding young man with a very bright future. He was a great friend to many, including many of our current and incoming team members. … Bryce and his family will always be a part of the Georgia Tech football family.”