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NCAA Apr 12, 2023

Mercer University men’s soccer student-athlete Baba Agbaje tragically passes away

Mercer University men’s soccer student-athlete Baba Agbaje passed away on Monday night, the university has announced.

According to reports, Agbaje collapsed on the field while playing pickup soccer and went into cardiac arrest. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

The 21-year-old midfielder was a senior at the Georgia-based university, where he had been with the men’s soccer program for his entire college career, since arriving as a freshman in 2019. In the fall of 2022, he completed his fourth and final season of eligibility with the Bears.

“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 in a statement from the University. “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.”

“Baba has been a valued member of the Mercer student-athlete community over the last four years,” said Athletic Director Jim Cole. “His coaches and teammates are obviously hurting, and we are focused on providing support to the family and to the team. The entire Mercer family is in mourning tonight. This hurts, but we will lean on each other in the coming days.”

Baba joined the men’s soccer program with his brother, Salam, in the 2019 season. He made four starts in 18 appearances for the team. He recorded an assist in his first-ever start against Winthrop in September 2021. Baba 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 HS to the 2017 and 2019 GHSA 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,” said Mercer President William D. Underwood. “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.”

Any student desiring counseling can contact Mercer Police at (478) 301-2970 after hours and ask to speak to a counselor, or contact Counseling and Psychological Services between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. at (478) 301-2862.