Deerfield Beach

‘Mental Illness Is Very Serious’: Vigil Honors Deerfield Beach Student Athlete

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Family and friends gathered for a candlelight vigil Thursday night in Deerfield Beach to honor Bryce Gowdy, the high school football player who died earlier this week by suicide.

The 17-year-old, a star athlete at Deerfield Beach High School, had just signed to play football at Georgia Tech. He was days away from starting his first semester of college on a scholarship.

Dozens came together on the very football field at Deerfield Beach High School where Gowdy spent so much time practicing. Many wore shirts with the teen's nickname, "Simba."

Gowdy's life was cut short Monday when he was struck by a freight train near Southwest 10th Street and Dixie Highway, just a mile away from his alma mater.

According to his family and high school football coach, Gowdy had a lot of responsibilities at home and was under a lot of pressure. His mother recounted in a now-deleted Facebook live video that they were homeless and were living in a hotel room.

The Broward County Medical Examiner ruled Gowdy's death a suicide.

Family and friends are expected to gather for a vigil Thursday night in Deerfield Beach to honor Bryce Gowdy, the high school football player who died earlier this week by suicide. NBC 6's Marissa Bagg reports.

Grief counselors were at hand Thursday at Deerfield Beach High School. Gowdy's teammates came together on campus that afternoon for a meeting with coaches about his death.

"It was important to tell the truth and what really happened," said Deterius Lee. "Mental illness is very serious and some kids go walking every day trying to figure out what they’re going through and people don’t understand, sometimes it’s hard for me to understand what’s going on for myself."

The football coach of Bryce Gowdy talked about the rising star athlete after the 17-year-old died after he was struck by a train in Deerfield Beach. NBC 6's Marissa Bagg reports.

Family members have set up a GoFundMe account to help with his funeral.

Anyone who is struggling with issues is advised to call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK for free confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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