November 11, 2009
NoIt is with great sadness that Simon Fraser University and SFU Athletics share the news of the passing today of football player Bernd Dittrich.
Dittrich, a quarterback for the SFU Clan football team, died in hospital Wednesday morning. Cause of death has yet to be determined. He was taken to hospital Tuesday evening after losing consciousness in a swimming pool on SFU’s Burnaby campus.
He was 21 years old. He is survived by his family in Austria.
Originally from Vienna, Austria, Dittrich moved to Heavener, Oklahoma, at the age of 17 for his senior year of high school, and played both quarterback and linebacker for the Heavener Wolves.
Growing up in Vienna, Dittrich fell in love with the sport of American Football, and played for the Vienna Vikings club team, where he was coached by current SFU offensive coordinator Shawn Olson for five years. Olson recruited Dittrich to play for Simon Fraser, and the mobile pivot joined the Clan football team in August of 2007 alongside his fellow Vienna Viking teammate Daniel Stanzel.
“Our hearts go out to Bernd’s family,” said SFU's Senior Director of Athletics, Dr. David Murphy. “The SFU athletics community has lost an exceptional young man. Bernd was not only a great athlete on the field, but also an inspiring individual in all aspects of life. We will miss him tremendously.”
While the third-year Bachelor of Science student played a minor role with the team during his first season, Dittrich was named starting quarterback of the Clan in 2008.
In his first career start, he led SFU to their first victory in over three years, a 24-10 win over UBC. Following the victory, an emotional Dittrich fought back tears while describing how much the win meant to his teammates and coaching staff.
In 2008, Dittrich led the Clan to their best record since 2003 (5-3), a fourth-quarter comeback win in the 2008 Shrum Bowl against UBC, and an appearance in the Canada West Hardy Cup final. A shoulder injury in 2009 limited Dittrich to six games this past season.
Playing in 24 total games for the Clan, Dittrich threw for 2684 yards and 10 touchdowns, while rushing for 763 yards and eight touchdowns.
Known affectionately as ‘Bernie,’ Dittrich was an inspiration to his teammates, and was known for his enthusiasm and tremendous work ethic. He will be greatly missed.
There is no word yet on funeral arrangements.