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Father says steroids did not cause death

Although the autopsy results of former Ohio State football strength and conditioning volunteer Jake Nickle are not yet available, Jake’s father Lawrence said he wanted to make one thing clear: His son’s death was not steroid-related.

Lawrence said he’s worried about how reports that claimed steroids played a role in Jake’s death Friday might affect his son’s memory.

“I’ve been hearing all kinds of things,” Lawrence told The Lantern on Sunday. “It tarnishes his reputation, and he’s been clean all along.

“I don’t want it to be made any more than it is.”

Lawrence received a welcomed phone call from OSU football coach Jim Tressel on Sunday.

“They got the greatest coach in the world,” Lawrence said. “(Tressel) said that I raised a great son. He said they’re all deeply saddened about it. (Tressel’s) really a class act.”

OSU athletics spokesman Dan Wallenberg confirmed to The Lantern on Friday that Jake lost consciousness during a pickup basketball game at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center before being pronounced dead at the OSU Medical Center.

The cause of Jake’s death is unknown. An autopsy was performed Saturday on Jake, Lawrence said, and the results will be available six weeks from then.

“I was curious about that too,” he said, referring to the autopsy results.

“Jake had had light-headedness after working out,” Lawrence said, adding that a doctor in Marysville, Ohio, Jake’s hometown, performed “a battery of tests and gave him the go-ahead about exercising again.”

Jake’s viewing is scheduled to be held at Underwood Funeral Home in Marysville from 2–7 p.m. Wednesday. A funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at Shiloh Chapel Evangelical Friends Church in Marysville. Both services will be open to the public.

Jake graduated last year from Capital University, where he played on the football team’s defensive line. He recorded 21 tackles, 3.5 sacks and one interception in 10 games during the 2009 season.

In an e-mail to The Lantern on Friday, Henry Stanford, Jake’s coach at Capital, said: “Jake was one of the finest young men I had the honor of coaching. The Crusader Nation has lost a great member. He was special and an inspiration to all that have played with him, coached and had pleasure of knowing him. He will be remembered.”

Zack Meisel contributed to this story.

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