Questions remain after Nash autopsy

The autopsy found no drugs and could not conclude a specific cause of death.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:43 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

An autopsy on Denver Broncos running back Damien Nash found no drugs or unnatural substances of any kind in his system, and an exact cause of death could not be determined, the St. Louis County medical examiner’s office said Tuesday night.

Nash, 24, collapsed and died Feb. 24 after a charity basketball game he hosted near his hometown in suburban St. Louis. Nash arranged the game at his high school to benefit The Darris Nash Find a Heart Foundation, which was named after his 25-year-old brother, who had a heart transplant last year.

A representative from the medical examiner’s office said the cause of death was listed as “undetermined.”

“It was a natural death of cardiac origin, but we were unable to determine the exact origin,” said the representative after consulting Dr. Mary Case, chief medical examiner for St. Louis County.

A friend of the Nash family, Maurice Scott, said the family had anticipated that the autopsy would reveal no drugs.

“It wasn’t a surprise that there was nothing illegal in his system,” Scott said. “We continue to pray that one day we’ll find out what happened to him.

“We continue to mourn his loss every day.”

After playing for the University of Missouri, Nash was a fifth-round draft choice by Tennessee in 2005.

He played in three games for the Titans before the Broncos signed him as a free agent last season. He played in three games, rushing for 66 yards on 18 carries. In his two-year career, he had 24 carries for 98 yards and seven receptions for 55 yards.

HICKMAN BASEBALL: The Hickman baseball team defeated the Wentzville Holt Indians 4-1 Tuesday at T.R. Hughes Stadium.

Kewpie starting pitcher Greg Kanuckel (3-4) allowed one run on five hits and struck out five Indians (14-9) on his way to earning the complete game victory.

Sophomore Drew Mitrisin went 1-for-4 at the plate, driving in two Kewpie runs.

Juniors Justin Jones and Taylor Steuber each went 2-for-3.

The Kewpies (11-9) will face Rock Bridge (11-7) today at 7 p.m. at Taylor Stadium.

MOVING UP: Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 568th home run Tuesday night, leaving him one behind Rafael Palmeiro for ninth place on baseball’s career homer list.

Griffey followed a Brandon Phillips single with his fifth home run of the season to give the Cincinnati Reds a 5-4 lead over the Houston Astros in the fifth inning. He lined a 1-2 pitch from left-hander Wandy Rodriguez 377 feet into the right-field seats.

GREINKE TO BULLPEN: ack Greinke, who gave up three two-run homers in one inning Sunday in a loss to Detroit, has been dropped from the Kansas City Royals’ rotation and will work out of the bullpen.

Greinke, who left the club in spring training 2005 and received treatment for social anxiety, is 1-4 with a 5.71 ERA in seven starts.

Opponents are hitting .338 against him.

“I just hope he can regain some confidence,” Royals manager Buddy Bell said Tuesday. “He’s hard to read. He’s pitched away from contact at times and pitched behind in the count. Sometimes, I can tell he’s just not as comfortable as he needs to be. That is basically why we’re doing it.”

UMSL MAKES HIRE: The University of Missouri-St. Louis said Tuesday that Lisa Curliss-Taylor has been hired as the next women’s basketball head coach.

She comes to the school from East Texas Baptist University, an NCAA Division III school, where she served as head coach for the past four years. She had a 57-48 record during her career there, including a 40-14 record the past two seasons.

Curliss-Taylor served as an assistant coach at Division II Washburn University for two seasons, prior to her time at East Texas Baptist University. There, the team was 53-11 in those seasons.

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