A look at the Utah football team’s recent season, as well as how they overcame a tragic series of events, during which two players died.
The “ty jordan autopsy report” is a document that was released in the aftermath of Utah football’s two player’s deaths. The report details the cause of death and how it occurred.
SALT LAKE CITY — Donna Lowe-Stern wasn’t sure what she was going to say. Aaron Lowe, her son, had been slain the day before, on September 26. She was now staring out the window towards a room filled with his grieving Utah football buddies. Coach Kyle Whittingham had asked her if she wanted to speak with the team, and she felt it was important for them to hear from her — for her to communicate what she believed Aaron’s message would have been.
Lowe-Stern urged them, “I would want for you to remain focused and keep playing because that’s what Aaron would want.”
Her message was succinct and to the point, but it would linger with the players and coaches for the remainder of the season.
Lowe’s close friend and running back Micah Bernard stated, “She was very powerful.” “It’s her kid, after all. Seeing a powerful lady address us inspired us to do the right thing by him. Even simply talking to us about it was powerful. Simply doing so aided the whole crew in getting through it.”
Lowe-Stern was encouraging her son’s teammates to utilize football for a greater cause, which hadn’t been a focus up until that point.
The squad debated its future actions in a players’ meeting a few days later. After defeating Washington State to start Pac-12 play, the team was on a bye week with everything on the line. Is it appropriate for the athletes to take a break? Should they pick up football again?
“We all agreed that we needed to get back into it straight away,” Bernard remarked. “The world does not stop spinning, and we must act in the best interests of our fallen brother. Her presence aided us in making decisions.”
Lowe’s death happened nine months after his close buddy and Utah teammate Ty Jordan died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The season may have easily been lost if they had been confronted with yet another catastrophe.
Instead, the opposite occurred.
“I don’t know anything could have been more forceful in bringing us together,” Whittingham remarked. “It brought us all together and gave us a common goal. That inspired us and gave everyone a common denominator to play for, not that you need that to create a strong football team.”
“Be 22 percent better,” the team’s credo became, a nod to Jordan’s and Lowe’s respective jersey numbers.
The squad recommitted themselves to the pitch with their memories fresh in their minds. Utah, which began the season 2-2, won eight of its last nine games, including a thrashing of Oregon, to win the Pac-12 title and earn a spot in the Capital One Venture X Rose Bowl Game, where it will meet Ohio State (Saturday, 5 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN App).
Clark Phillips III, a close friend of both players, stated, “I felt like I was playing for them, and I felt like I owed the season to them.” “I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t give it my best every play.”
Aaron Lowe had changed his jersey number to 22 in honor of Ty Jordan. Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire photo
JORDAN and LOWE had a strong relationship. Jordan and Lowe were high school classmates in Mesquite, Texas, and following Jordan’s death, Lowe changed his number to 22 in remembrance of his buddy. Lowe was named the inaugural winner of the Ty Jordan Memorial Scholarship by the team in August.
When Lowe received the scholarship, he remarked, “Ty made everyone around him better.” “He improved my life. Ty’s friendship means a lot to me since he has always pushed me to be the greatest version of myself. He never let me settle for anything less than the best. I want to ensure that his legacy is carried on by me.”
Phillips recalls standing over the coffin during Jordan’s burial in January, crying and sad, only to have Lowe put his arm over his shoulder and assure him, “Everything will be fine, buddy. We’re going to be honest. He doesn’t want us to be depressed.’”
Phillips said, “That’s what Aaron told me.” “‘Man, this is your best buddy,’ I said. This is your canine companion. ‘This is your younger brother,’ says the narrator.”
Lowe, on the other hand, struggled to deal with the death of his buddy in private.
He was having issues eating and sleeping. According to his mother, when he returned to Utah following Jordan’s death, he consulted a doctor to assist him cope with the emotional and physical toll Jordan had taken on him.
Lowe’s outward optimism, though, remained contagious.
Before arriving at Utah, quarterback Ja’Quinden Jackson had never met Lowe. His desire to play alongside Jordan, a buddy since eighth grade, influenced his choice to move from Texas in December 2020. Only a week before his death, Jackson had a lengthy phone chat with Jordan, which persuaded him to go to Salt Lake City.
Jackson discovered a like soul in Lowe.
“We became closer and closer as time went on,” Jackson recalled. “He turned out to be one of my closest pals — essentially my big brother.”
They became friends because of their shared upbringing, their love of football, and Jordan’s death. They tried all they could to keep each other going. When they parted ways, they would normally say “I love you” and give each other a hug.
“The previous time we didn’t do that, and it shattered me,” Jackson said. “I now tell everyone that I adore them. You never know when it will be your loved one’s final day on this planet.”
On Sept. 26, Lowe-Stern got a call from one of Lowe’s Texas pals in the early morning hours.
“Mama, A-Lowe was shot,” says the narrator.
Lowe-Stern wasn’t convinced, so she phoned Utah assistant coach Sharrieff Shah to double-check what she’d been told. He was jolted awake by the phone call.
“I just heard Aaron was shot,” I responded, and he said, “OK, let me get on it and call you straight back.” According to Lowe-Stern. “And then I could hear it in his voice as he murmured, ‘Mama,’ and I knew Aaron was gone.”
Whittingham got a call from Jeff Rudy, Utah’s assistant athletic director for football administration, about the same time. Lowe had been shot and died at a home party in Salt Lake City, he informed him.
“It seemed like I was reliving the nightmare,” Whittingham added. “It was the same heartbreaking, gut-wrenching sensation, and clearly a this-can’t-happen-again moment. It was like experiencing Ty’s tragedy twice over, but this time there was another young guy who had died. It was nothing short of a disaster.”
The news immediately spread among the crew. According to court documents, many Utah football players were present at the party where the shooting occurred and were interrogated by authorities.
A verbal argument between Lowe and a group of guys outside a house party approximately 2 miles from the University of Utah campus was reported in a probable cause warrant utilized by the Salt Lake City police department in the arrest of Buk Buk, 22. Buk is said to have approached the incident by walking down a driveway and firing “two or three bullets” at Lowe and his girlfriend. Witnesses saw Buk Buk approach the victims and shoot them five or six more times while they were on the ground, according to the warrant.
Lowe was declared dead at the scene, while his girlfriend, who ESPN has decided to remain anonymous, was brought to the hospital but survived. Lowe’s girlfriend was unable to interact verbally with police at the hospital later that day, but informed officers by typing on her phone that Lowe was “trying to move his car, but four individuals would not move out of the path,” according to the warrant.
Buk was arrested on Oct. 3 and is now being held in prison on accusations of aggravated murder, attempted murder, and criminal firearm discharge.
Utah football’s No. 22 is the first number to be retired. Rob Gray is a sports reporter for USA TODAY.
THE UTES crushed USC in Los Angeles in their first game following Lowe’s death. Utah won for the first time at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, 42-26, snapping an eight-game losing record against the Trojans dating back to 1916.
Two days later, the squad traveled to Mesquite to attend Lowe’s burial, where he was laid out in his entire Utes jersey, down to his cleats, in an open coffin. A giant Utah logo was displayed behind him, bordered on both sides by the No. 22.
During the burial, Shah urged, “Don’t simply be better.” “Make a 22 percent improvement. Tell your mother you love her two more times if you’ve already told her ten times. Do two extra repetitions if you’ve already completed ten.”
Several individuals addressed to the gathering at the Family Cathedral of Praise in a two-hour session, including Utah president Taylor Randall, athletic director Mark Harlan, and Whittingham.
Whittingham assured the audience, “We won’t get over it, but we will get through it.”
Whittingham isn’t sure his team would have been ready to play if Utah hadn’t had a bye the week following Lowe’s death. The shock took many days to wear off, but once it did, the squad emerged with a reinvigorated sense of purpose.
“I believe the team grew a lot closer after Ty died, and I felt like it got even closer when Aaron went,” Phillips said. “For everyone, it was a yanking effect. What’s more, guess what? We’re the only ones we’ve got. And it was with that mindset that we approached each game. Nobody was going to be able to beat us.”
Throughout the remainder of the season, Lowe and Jordan’s memory were commemorated in a variety of ways. No. 22 was the first number in program history to be retired in October. Their lockers were kept intact. At Rice-Eccles Stadium, the 22-yard hashmarks were painted red. The slogan “Be 22% Better” was emblazoned all over the locker area.
Phillips said, “We were certainly playing for something larger.” “We felt obligated to those people, both of whom wore the number 22. We felt compelled to put on a show for them, and we felt compelled to do it in their honor because that is all they would have wanted.”
After Aaron Lowe’s death, Utah adopted a new tagline for the season: “Be 22 percent better.” Rick Bowmer/AP Photo
EVEN AFTER HER SON DIED, Lowe-Stern continued to watch every game from her Texas home.
It helped, she said, since watching the Utes has given her a connection to her son, even though she has sat and grieved at times.
She said, “I want to see my kid out there.” “It helps me when I have such times…. It’s difficult for me since I’ve never lost a kid. It’s quite difficult. Every day, I go around with a horrible sensation that I’m not sure will ever go away.”
The team’s performance improved as it rallied behind the memory of Lowe and Jordan. Utah assumed control of the Pac-12 South with a dominating 35-21 victory over Arizona State on Oct. 16, and the Utes couldn’t be stopped until an upset setback at Oregon State the following week.
On Dec. 3, during the Pac-12 championship game in Las Vegas, a memorial film was shown inside the arena, which had previously been shown at Rice-Eccles Stadium throughout the season. Phillips began to cry on the pitch and wanted to take a breather. He and Lowe had spoken about winning the Pac-12, and now he was about to make that goal a reality, despite the fact that Lowe wasn’t there to celebrate it with him.
A rush of passion washed over Phillips as the game reached its conclusion and confetti was thrown into the air. A flood of emotion poured over him as he exchanged a deep hug with Shah, his and Lowe’s position coach.
Phillips recalled, “I could just feel it, and it hurt.” “It was a bittersweet sensation since we knew we had accomplished our goal. We were able to complete it in 22 minutes. They weren’t physically there, but we knew they were present in spirit.”
The team has another chance to make a lasting memorial to Jordan and Lowe as it prepares for the Rose Bowl, with Lowe-Stern in attendance for what is anticipated to be a big gathering of Utes supporters.
“We really pushed ourselves to go over everything we’d been through in the previous several months. We relied on each other as a family, brothers, and team, and we succeeded “According to Jackson.
“We made it through, and now we’re headed to the Rose Bowl to attempt to do it again.”
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The “ty jordan shooting details” is a story about how Utah football united through the grief of two players’ deaths. The article discusses how the team was able to overcome their pain and play in the game.
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