Utes center Nick Ford helping teammates cope with loss


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Utes center Nick Ford knows all too well what it is like to lose a loved one.

His brother Michael died two years ago after a lifelong battle with a congenital heart defect. He has the date tattooed on arm, May 17, 2019.

So when Aaron Lowe was killed in a shooting last weekend, also at the age of 21, it brought up some similar emotions. As a senior captain and leader on the team, Ford wanted to be there for his teammates, and for him that meant making sure they were properly nourished.

“A lot of people when they experience a close loss, especially for the first time, they don’t realize that they don’t eat,” Ford said. “That makes everything way worse because your body doesn’t have energy, you’re depressed, you don’t want to do anything, you’re not moving around, you start feeling sick. So one of one of my main things is you got a good meal and are you OK.”

Ford actually cooked for his teammates in his own apartment, and acted like a big brother to them, like Michael was to him.

“I opened my door for people to come over,” Ford said. “I’ve had people come over for dinner, sit on my couch and hang out, watch TV, do things. I offer for them to stay the night. Just stuff like that because if you’ve got good food and good company, it’s going to start lifting your spirits up. The more you talk and the more you’re around them, it’s going to help a lot.”

Having gone through another tragedy, Ford is hoping this team will be able to build an even stronger bond.

“Of course the death of a teammate is going to bring everyone together because we all had a relationship,” Ford said. “I had a close relationship with A-Lowe, I had a close relationship with Ty [Jordan], so did many of the 130 people in the building. We build our family and our bond off of the struggle out here.”

Utah takes on USC Saturday night at 6:00 p.m at the Coliseum in Los Angeles.

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