Skip to main content

Derrick Nash, Central Michigan player with leukemia, dies

  • Author:
  • Publish date:

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (AP) Central Michigan cornerback Derrick Nash, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2013 when he was still in high school, has died. He was 20.

Nash died Monday at University of Michigan Health System, according to Paradise Funeral Chapel in Saginaw.

''Derrick was an inspiration to us all and the fight he showed will never be forgotten,'' Dave Heeke, Central Michigan athletic director, said in a news release announcing the death. ''The incredible courage he exhibited in never allowing this terrible disease to dampen his positive outlook on life, is a tremendous representation of the type of man he was.''

Nash was a freshman who signed with Central Michigan in February 2013. He was diagnosed with leukemia that May during his senior year at Saginaw's Carrollton High School, where he was a running back who earned first team all-state honors in 2012. After undergoing chemotherapy, Nash joined the team in 2014 and took part in spring practice.

He was on schedule to claim a spot on the active roster for the 2014 season when doctors found the leukemia had returned, the athletic department said.

Central Michigan honored Nash last season with a helmet sticker and team members wore (hash)NashStrong wristbands. He served as the team's honorary captain for the 2014 Popeyes Bahamas Bowl.

''I never got to coach Derrick on the football field, but I am proud to have been his coach the last few months,'' coach John Bonamego said. ''He is one of the toughest young men I have ever known and the determination and resolve he showed is how we will always remember him.''