Tyler Amburgey was a “loving husband and a loving father” who had played hockey since he was 7 years old, his wife, Aimee Amburgey, told WFAA-TV in Dallas. Their daughter, Rylee, is 8 years old.
She said her husband first thought he had caught a cold traveling from rink to rink like he usually did in late summer.
“It started out like originally…with him getting like all…normal cold symptoms,” she told the station.
He then started to suffer from nausea, sleeplessness, shortness of breath, fatigue and migraines, FOX 4 in Dallas reported.
By the third day, Aug. 29, his wife said he finally canceled his hockey practice, where some players had already tested positive, and went to bed at their home in Lavon, Texas, north of Dallas.
Soon after, she found him unresponsive in bed. She called 911 but it was too late, she told WFAA.
The medical examiner said a sleeping pill Amburgey took combined with the virus to slow his heart until it stopped, his grandfather, Paul Hinds, told the Journal Star in Peoria, Illinois. Amburgey was a former Peoria Rivermen hockey player.
“He told us sleeping pills slow your heart rate, and in combination with COVID-19, which also slows your heart, Tyler’s heart stopped,” he said. “We were unaware he had COVID-19. No one knew that when he gathered to see him.”
Amburgey played for several minor league teams before becoming a coach, The New York Times reported.
He suffered several concussions and had five hip surgeries during his career. It’s unclear if any of that made him more vulnerable to the virus.
He only tested positive for the virus after his death, Hinds told the Journal Star.
“Hockey meant everything to him,” Aimee Amburgey told The Times. “When he got a new pair of skates, he was like a kid at Christmas. You never saw anyone so pumped up about new equipment, even shin guards.”
“I just want him to be remembered for more than just a person that… passed away from COVID,” she added.
Nearly 30 youth players and coaches have tested positive for the virus this month, which could be linked to a recent tournament in the area, the Dallas County Health and Human Services said, FOX 4 reported.