Skip to main content

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


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

Klobuchar - MTP - NBC screengrab

Klobuchar says Congress should pass law to protect abortion rights

Her comments came as the Supreme Court appears poised to weaken — or gut — Roe v. Wade

MPD missing Heard - crop 1_

Police ask for public's help finding Mpls. woman missing a week

The 36-year-old hasn't been seen or heard from recently.

unsplash cold winter breath dark

Hello, winter: List of the coldest wind chills in MN Monday morning

The state went from a relatively mild start of the season, to downright frigid wind chills.


1 CWD-positive deer in Brainerd Lakes area, so surveillance will continue

The CWD monitoring measures were supposed to end after this year.

unsplash - visitor patient doctor hospital emergency - crop

MN program will train, hire 1,000 nursing assistants for long-term care

The facilities are facing a severe staffing shortage.

Minnesota State Fair - main gate day 2021

Minnesota State Fair reestablishes a police department

The fair had been contracting with the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office.

teacher, covid, masks, school

Minnetonka to consider removing middle school mask requirement

The school board has been impressed by vaccination rates among middle school students.

snow, plow

Friday winter storm could hit Twin Cities, southern Minnesota

Meteorologist Sven Sundgaard is already monitoring the forecast.

Sauk Rapids Middle School street view, Minnesota - November 2018_

Teen student arrested for threats toward MN middle school

The Sauk Rapids middle school and high school were closed Monday.


Rally for trans child outed during Hastings school board race draws big crowd

Hastings has been in the spotlight since the child's family was featured in a CNN story.

chad davis arradondo flickr

Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo to retire next month

He's overseen the MPD since mid-2017, following the killing of Justine Ruszczyk Damond


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, December 6

The latest from the state health department.