NEW CASTLE — Former ’Hounds’ football stars suffers possible stroke
Former Wilmington High football star Derrick Burns was in stable condition at a Pittsburgh hospital last night after falling ill.
A local church with which he is affiliated asked for prayers yesterday for the University of Pittsburgh sophomore running back after he suffered a possible mild stroke. Burns was being held for observation and further tests after becoming ill at his New Wilmington home.
“I talked to the family and they were using medication to try and get rid of a clot, rather than surgery,” said Wilmington football coach Terry Verrelli, Burns’ high school football coach. “News like that is not something anyone wants to hear. It’s a terrible thing.”
Burns, 20, was competing with Mark Giubilato for the starting fullback spot in new coach Paul Chryst’s run-heavy offensive system. Burns redshirted in 2010 and did not see the field as a redshirt freshman in 2011.
“It seems like he was dealt a bad hand,” Verrelli said. “At (the college) level, you’ve worked so hard, that’s a real blow in itself.”
Verrelli coached not only Derrick, but his older brother Chris, who is a running back at the University of Massachusetts.
“I think the Burns kids are great people,” Verrelli said. “They’re all well-mannered kids and team players and they come from a great family.
“This is just a shame. He’s worked so hard to get where he’s at, and then this happens. We’re all praying for him.”
The Panthers, who went 6-7 last season, open the year against Youngstown State at Heinz Field on Sept. 1.
(Call Ron Poniewasz Jr. at (724) 654-6651, extension 640, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).