Kansas State University

K-State football team to honor rower Samantha Scott, who died of Lemierre’s Syndrome

The K-State football team will honor the memory of Wildcats rower Samantha Scott. (Courtesy Photo from K-State Athletics)
The K-State football team will honor the memory of Wildcats rower Samantha Scott. (Courtesy Photo from K-State Athletics)

The Kansas State football team will honor the memory of Samantha Scott with a helmet sticker when it takes the field against TCU this weekend.

Scott died from a sudden illness last Saturday at the age of 23 in Manhattan. She was a senior and the top coxswain on the Wildcats’ rowing team this season. A native of Fort Morgan, Colo., she was also an architectural engineering major who earned academic All-Big 12 honors last year while leading the team’s 1v8 and 1v4 boats.

The sudden illness was Lemierre’s Syndrome, a rare and life-threatening bacterial infection that begins in the throat and spreads through lymphatic vessels. Symptons can include sore throat and fever, so the infection is not easily detected. Initial symptoms are followed by swelling of the internal jugular vein.

The infection can spread quickly through the lungs, with bacteria taking over the body if not treated immediately.

Kennidi Cobbley, one of Scott’s best friends from Colorado who has created a gofundme page to help Scott’s family during this difficult time, said her death came by complete surprise.

“It started as tonsillitis and they treated it with antibiotics,” Cobbley said. Then it moved to pneumonia and she was hospitalized and all of a sudden it started attacking all of her organs with her lungs and her heart.”

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News of Scott’s death shook everyone close to her.

“She really was a one of a kind person,” Cobbley said. “She was always happy. I don’t think you could find anyone who could say one negative thing about her. She was always willing to help other people, outgoing but still shy a little bit. She was just really unique.”

Her personality shined through on the K-State rowing team. She grew up participating in gymnastics and attended school in Manhattan to learn about architecture. It wasn’t until a friend of a friend shared some interesting stories about the Wildcats’ rowing squad that she decided to give the sport a try.

Before long, she became a successful coxswain. For those unfamiliar with rowing, that position is unique. It doesn’t require any actual rowing, but it does require an energetic person to sit at the back of the boat, steer and shout encouragement at her teammates.

It was a perfect fit for Scott.

“Samantha was a great leader for our program and more importantly a great person,” K-State rowing coach Patrick Sweeney. “She was so well-liked by all of her teammates and had such a big impact on our program both on and off the water. We are all still in a state of shock, and we will continue to keep her family in our thoughts and prayers.”

It’s been difficult for those within the K-State athletic department to focus this week.

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