Most athletes dream of retiring when they’re on top, à la Bill Russell, John Elway, Rocky Marciano, Jerome Bettis or, more recently, Ray Lewis.
Well this past weekend, an NSU star alumnus retired in the prime of his life. Kevin Rafael Preciado suffered from a bad cold late Saturday, March 23, when his parents took him to the hospital for fear of dehydration. The doctors decided to keep Kevin overnight for precautionary reasons.
Early the next day, around 1 a.m., doctors noticed irregularities in his heart and rushed him to the intensive care unit. Shortly after, Kevin passed away. His heart was already weak due to his muscular dystrophy, and the combination of everything was just too much.
It’s ironic that it was his heart that gave up because anyone who knows Kevin would describe him by talking about his heart. I’m sure everyone who knows Kevin has a story about how he showed his love. If you needed something and he had it, he wouldn’t hesitate to help you out.
To me, Kevin was a good friend. He was the kind of friend that you wanted for a lifetime. I enjoyed watching sports with him. Whether it was going to a Panthers game or watching Monday Night Football at his house, I enjoyed being around him. He was a classic comedian; he always had his one-liners. He called himself a “sit-up comedian.”
One thing I never heard from Kevin was a complaint about his situation. I never saw him down or upset. In fact, he was the one to cheer people up. He never let his disability hold him back from accomplishing his goals or being his true self. He accomplished so much in the short time he was with us. He was proud of his volunteer work with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, as he often attended walkathons, telethons and shirts-off-your-back fundraisers. While attending NSU, he completed an internship with the Special Olympics.
Kevin always put the interest of others before his own. That’s why nobody should be surprised that Kevin was pursuing a career in non-profit work. He was most proud of being the sports editor for the student-run newspaper, The Current. Kevin looked forward to interviewing coaches and NSU athletes in hopes of raising student pride and support for NSU athletics. He received his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in sports management.
Even though he accomplished so much, he still had so much more to conquer. Like all other greats that left at their prime, Kevin left us wanting more. I’m sure I speak for many when I say, Kevin, you will be missed, but never forgotten.