Wheaton College is in mourning after a student was killed in a tragic accident at a track and field competition on Saturday.
Ethan Roser, 19, was volunteering at the event around 4:15 p.m. when he was accidentally struck by a metal hammer ball during the hammer throw event, according to a statement from the school in Wheaton, Illinois.
Bystanders said Roser was in the middle of the field, in the wrong place at the wrong time, with witness Marcus Malcolm recalling that the student “dropped down and then was unresponsive after that.”
Paramedics responded immediately, school officials said, and Roser was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove where he was pronounced dead.
Friends said Roser, a freshman transfer student from Cincinnati, was a member of the soccer team and wanted to learn more about ministry.
“He was really encouraging and fun to be around,” said Max Schaafsma, a friend who attended a vigil on the field Saturday night.
“It's really tough. This is where it happened and it's crazy to see how life in a moment can go away,” Schaafsma added.
Another vigil was held on campus Saturday night, as members of the community lean on their faith.
"We are deeply grieved, but, because of our faith in Christ, not without hope," Wheaton College President Philip Ryken said in a statement. "We ask people to pray for Ethan's family, his friends, and our campus community.”
“Even if it's really hard, we can still know that Ethan is in heaven with God,” Schaafsma said.