WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KTVU) - A West Point graduate died Wednesday after getting sick on his first day of U.S. Army Ranger School, according to Army officials.
2nd Lt. Michael Parros of Walnut Creek was in his first day of Army Ranger School on July 25 at Ft. Benning in Georgia when he fell ill and was transported to a hospital for medical treatment. The 21 year old died with his family by his side on Wednesday.
Army officials said Parros became ill with hyponatremia, a condition that occurs when sodium levels in the blood are abnormally low. It can sometimes be brought on by drinking too much water during an endurance sport.
Parros is a 2012 graduate of De La Salle High School in Concord where he played football. He was a backup quarterback, but was a versatile who also played multiple positions.
Head football coach Justin Alumbaugh said he and the staff are in shock.
“He was here two weeks ago, working out with our football guys, talking about his training, talking about how excited he was,” Alumbaugh said.
Assistant coach Bob Ladauceur recalled being surprised when Parros told them he initially wanted to attend West Point.
“It takes a lot of courage to do that. Go across the country, join the military, work for defending our country… everybody admired that,” Ladauceur said.
Parros was an accomplished athlete at West Point where he played football, hockey, and soccer. He recently graduated from West Point in May.
“Michael was a real quiet leader,” Ladauceur said. “He led by example. He was an excellent example for our younger kids to watch.”
Alumbaugh said Parros was more than a good player, he was a good man.
“He was always dedicated to his teammates,” Alumbaugh added. “He was always dedicated to his family, his schoolwork and obviously his county. He really had a presence about him and he’s going to be missed for sure.”
“This is a tragic loss," said Lt. Col. Matthew Weber, Commander of the 2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment. "While 2nd Lt. Parros was only with us for a short time, he showed so much potential and was the epitome of the kind of Soldier you want to serve with. We are truly saddened to lose a member of our Army family."
According to Army officials, Parros reported to Fort Benning for training on June 27. He was assigned to the 199th Infantry Brigade and planned to attend the Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course after completing Ranger School.