Skip to main content

Ex-UND, Eden Prairie football star dies after crash in Thailand

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

A motorcycle crash in Thailand claimed the life of former Eden Prairie High School and University of North Dakota star linebacker Travis O'Neel.

O'Neel, 36, died Tuesday at Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, four days after the motorcycle he was riding collided with a truck. According to a post on his CaringBridge page, O'Neel suffered multiple broken bones and a severe injury to both his skull and brain.

His wife and two children, along with his brother, mother, and step father, had all been by his side in the hospital.

An update by his brother Tuesday said O'Neel's injuries were "considerable," but his heart "remains strong." The family took steps to make sure his heart and other organs will be donated.

"It is but one of the ways we will keep Travis alive," the post says. "He will remain with us in spirit as well."

O'Neel, who wore No. 36, was a captain on UND's NCAA Division II national championship team in 2001. He led UND in tackles that season and was named an All-American.

He began teaching in Costa Rica following his all-academic football career and eventually moved to Thailand to teach. He also met his wife there and started a family with two sons, the Grand Forks Herald notes.

Bubba Schweigert, UND's current head coach and O'Neel's defensive coordinator in college, spoke highly of O'Neel in a statement released by the university.

"On the field, he was one of our all-time greats. He was a captain of our national championship team. He was a dependable, physical, athletic inside linebacker who played the game with passion and who was a part of one of the most dominant defenses in the history of UND football," it said.

Donations to help pay for medical expenses and support O'Neel's family can be made here.

Chris Lister, a friend of O'Neel's, wrote a song to commemorate his life.

This embed is invalid

Next Up

Redtail Ridge Elementary

Sunbather on the roof triggers shelter-in-place at Savage elementary school

The sunbather told police he was trying to "tan and relax."

Nero

The Raptor Center's ambassador, Nero the turkey vulture, dies at 47

Nero helped save the California condors before taking up his post as an education ambassador.

Ben Leber

Ben Leber named new permanent co-host of 'Twin Cities Live'

The former Minnesota Vikings linebacker was introduced Friday afternoon.

MPR

APM Reports, maker of 'In the Dark' podcast, nixed by Minnesota Public Radio

MPR said "select programming elements" of APM Reports will be incorporated into MPR News.

storm, severe

The latest on holiday weekend severe weather chances for MN

The most significant severe threats are Sunday night and again on Monday.

Arianna Vos

Charges: Driver was drunk, high in head-on crash that killed 19-year-old woman

The young woman killed in the crash was a college student studying zoology.

motorcycle

Motorcyclist killed in Ham Lake after passing in the turn lane

The motorcyclist was hit by a car turning onto the road.

Keith Ellison

Minnesota gets cut of Ford settlement over misleading ads

The $19.2 million settlement centers on Ford's C-Max hybrid and Super Duty pickup truck.

Related