Who was Kaleb Boateng?
Kaleb Boateng was a former college football player who played as an offensive lineman for Clemson and Florida. He was a three-star recruit from Fort Lauderdale High School in the 2018 class. He joined Clemson in December 2018 and appeared in five games for the Tigers over two seasons from 2019 to 2020. He was part of two ACC championship teams and was named to the ACC Honor Roll in 2019. He transferred to Florida as a preferred walk-on in August 2021 and redshirted in his first season with the Gators. He was not listed on their online roster for the 2022 campaign.
Boateng was described by his coaches and teammates as a good teammate and a good spirit. He had a friendly personality and a strong work ethic. He was also skilled with a firearm and physically fit. He stood at 6-foot-4 and weighed 293 pounds.
How did Kaleb Boateng die?
Kaleb Boateng died on February 9, 2023, at the age of 21. His family announced that funeral services would be held later that week to mourn his tragic loss. A cause of death for Kaleb Boateng has not yet been disclosed by his family or the authorities.
However, according to Florida Recruiting, a Twitter page that covers Florida Gators football, Boateng died from what appears to have been suicide. The tweet said: “Florida walk-on Kaleb Boateng tragically died from what is believed to be suicide. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.”
The news of Boateng’s death shocked and saddened the college football community, especially his former teams at Clemson and Florida. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney issued a statement expressing his condolences and prayers for Boateng’s family. He said: “We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Kaleb’s passing. This is a very tragic and sad situation. Our prayers are with his family. While he was only here a couple of years before moving on, we remember Kaleb as being a good teammate and always having a good spirit to him. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and all of those who were blessed to know him.”
Florida head coach Dan Mullen also released a statement mourning Boateng’s death. He said: “We are heartbroken to learn of Kaleb’s passing. He was a great young man who had a bright future ahead of him. He was a valued member of our Gator family and we will miss him dearly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones during this difficult time.”
What is being done to prevent such tragedies?
The death of Kaleb Boateng has raised awareness about the mental health issues that college athletes face, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic that has disrupted their lives and routines. Many athletes struggle with stress, anxiety, depression, isolation, and other challenges that can affect their well-being and performance.
According to the NCAA, mental health is one of the top priorities for student-athlete welfare. The NCAA provides resources and guidelines for schools, coaches, staff, and athletes to promote mental health awareness, education, prevention, intervention, and treatment. The NCAA also encourages athletes to seek help when they need it and to support each other.
However, some experts argue that more needs to be done to address the mental health crisis among college athletes. They suggest that schools should invest more in mental health services, training, and support for athletes; that coaches should foster a culture of openness, trust, and care for their players; that athletes should have more access to counseling, therapy, and medication; and that stigma and shame around mental health should be reduced.
How can you help?
If you are a college athlete or know someone who is, you can help by being aware of the signs and symptoms of mental health problems, such as:
- Feeling sad, hopeless, worthless, or guilty
- Losing interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Having changes in appetite or weight
- Feeling restless, irritable, or angry
- Having difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Having thoughts of harming yourself or others
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, you should seek help as soon as possible. You can contact your school’s mental health services, your coach, your athletic trainer, your academic advisor, your family doctor, or any other trusted person who can help you.
You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 for free and confidential support 24/7.
You are not alone. You are not weak. You are not a burden. You are valuable. You are loved. You matter.
Remember Kaleb Boateng and honor his memory by taking care of yourself and others.