The University of Oregon (UO) has reported three confirmed cases of meningococcal meningitis this year and according to UO Athletic  Director, Rob Mullens,  one of the potential causes of death of an 18-year-old freshman may be meningococcemia, although this has not been confirmed.

Neisseria meningitidis  Image/CDC
Neisseria meningitidis
Image/CDC

In a communication from the University yesterday, it was sadly announced that UO freshman Lauren Jones, a member of the acrobatics and tumbling team, passed away unexpectedly Tuesday after requiring medical attention.

“This is a terrible and sudden loss for our whole Oregon community, as well our acrobatics and tumbling team family,” said Acrobatics and Tumbling Head Coach Chelsea Shaw. “Lauren was such a positive and bright spirit every day, and her smile was contagious. She will be greatly missed and our prayers and deepest condolences go out to her whole family, friends, previous teammates and anyone else who had the opportunity to know Lauren.”

Jones graduated from Southwest Dekalb High School in Lithonia, Ga., in 2014. She was the captain of Southwest Dekalb’s varsity gymnastics team and was named the most valuable player her senior season.

Jones was the captain of her club competitive cheerleading team and was also the MVP of her high school’s varsity cheer squad. She was an honor roll honoree and a member of her school’s band.

“All of us in the UO family are deeply saddened by Lauren’s sudden passing and extend our sympathies to her family and friends,” Director of Athletics Rob Mullens said. “As we honor Lauren’s spirit, we are providing comfort and support to her coaches, teammates and fellow student-athletes as they go through the grieving process.”

Jason Davis, a spokesman for Lane County Health & Human Services said in an email Tuesday night, “At this point, we have no reason to believe that those students and faculty outside of her close contacts have anything to worry about. If this turns out to be meningitis or Meningococcemia, public health will work with the university to identify and notify additional contacts.”