At Loyola, Case's promise recalled Freshman died 3 days after best college game

March 24, 1997|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER Sun staff writer Pat O'Malley contributed to this article.

Gerry Case will be remembered as a popular student who had just begun to demonstrate on the collegiate level the great athletic promise he had shown as a high school lacrosse star at Broadneck.

Case, 19, a freshman on the Loyola men's team, died Saturday night at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center of meningococcemia, an infection of the blood, just three days after playing the best game of his college career.

On Wednesday, Case played the entire second half and recorded his first collegiate goal and assist in a 24-5 victory over Fairfield. The next day, Case told coach Dave Cottle as practice was starting that he had been ill all night; Cottle told him to go home, and his parents picked him up.

Friday morning, Case was taken by his parents to Anne Arundel Medical Center. That night, he was moved to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he died on Saturday at 8: 30 p.m.

"Everyone is devastated," Cottle said. "Gerry was a kid who liked to have fun. But he was always respectful of everyone around him. He was a person everyone liked."

In late February, a member of the Loyola ice hockey club team, Richard Galasso, was infected with meningitis, hospitalized for a week and released. Case, who was friends with several members of the club team, took an antibiotic, ciprofloxacin, which kills any meningococcal infection already in the body.

But the effect of the antibiotic lingers only for a few days at most, which means that Case must have contracted the disease within the past month. Every member of the Loyola men's lacrosse team has now taken the antibiotic, Cottle said.

The team met yesterday morning and had dinner together last night. There will be no practices today or tomorrow, and it has not been decided whether the Greyhounds' scheduled game with Towson State on Saturday will be played.

"We had representatives from the health center and counseling department come and talk to our players," said Cottle, who talked to players from 11: 30 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. yesterday. "Then we ended the meeting with a prayer."

Yesterday, Cottle watched a videotape of Case playing against Fairfield. He stared amazed as Case, just five days ago, sprinted past defenders and outhustled players for the ball.

Case was a promising freshman, one of only two first-year Greyhounds to start a game this season and only one of four to score a goal.

At Broadneck, he holds goals records for a season (64) and a career (123). Case, a first-team All-Anne Arundel County and All-Metro attackman last year, scored five goals, including the game winner in the second overtime, of the 10-9 victory over Mount Hebron for the Class 3A-4A state championship.

"Everybody is going to miss him," said John Svec, a senior defenseman from Broadneck. "We were teammates for three years, and what I will always remember about him is that he always wanted the ball under pressure.

"I think everyone thought he would pull through because whenever Gerry had his back against the wall, whether it be in academics or playing lacrosse, he would come through."

The pallbearers for Case's funeral tomorrow morning will be split between his former teammates at Loyola and Broadneck. In lieu of flowers, the family is establishing a scholarship in his name.

"Gerry was a special kid, somebody we were very proud of at Broadneck," Broadneck athletic director Ken Kazmarek said. "He was one of the more popular kids in our school."

Pub Date: 3/24/97

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