Mercer University soccer player collapsed, died while playing pickup soccer

A Mercer University soccer player has died after collapsing while playing a pickup game. (Source: Atlanta News First)
Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 10:18 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 10, 2023 at 10:55 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The Mercer University community is mourning the loss of one of its own.

An investigation is underway after 21-year-old Mercer University men’s soccer player Baba Agbaje suffered cardiac arrest and died while playing a pickup soccer game on Monday evening, officials confirmed to Atlanta News First.

According to Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones, Baba Agbaje “collapsed and went into cardiac arrest while playing pickup soccer.”

He was rushed to the Atrium Navicent ER where he later died.

“We’re heartbroken over Baba’s passing, and our hearts go out to his family and loved ones,” men’s soccer head coach Brad Ruzzo said. “He was an incredible person who embodied what it means to be a Mercer Bear. Everyone who knew Baba loved him, and he was a blessing to coach. He will be greatly missed.”

Agbaje joined the men’s soccer program with his brother, Salam Agbaje, in the 2019 season. According to a statement from school officials Baba made four starts in 18 appearances for the team. He recorded an assist in his first-ever start against Winthrop in September 2021. He was named to the Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons.

Prior to coming to Mercer, Baba helped lead McIntosh High School to the 2017 and 2019 Georgia High School Association 5A State Championships and was named the 2019 Fayette County Boy’s Co-Player of the Year by Fayette County News.

“Our hearts go out to the Agbaje family on their tragic loss and ask the Mercer family to keep them in their thoughts and prayers,” Mercer President William D. Underwood said. “Baba was an outstanding student, having been named to the Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll, and was a valued teammate to other members of the soccer team. Words cannot convey the extent of our sadness over Baba’s passing.”

Officials say the autopsy results are pending.