WHEATON, Ill. (AP) — The father of an Ohio college student who died after being struck during a hammer-throw event at a suburban Chicago track meet remembered his son as a strong Christian.

The Rev. Mark Roser says 19-year-old Ethan Roser of Cincinnati shared his faith with others and it guided his life.

“He’s just a really special kid,” the Rev. Mark Roser said of his 19-year-old son, Ethan Roser, the Daily Herald reported. “We’re having a really hard time saying goodbye and letting go. We know God’s in control, and he works everything out even though it’s beyond our comprehension.”

Roser lived in Cincinnati but spent much of his life in Zimbabwe, where his parents were missionaries before moving the family back to the U.S. The freshman transferred to Wheaton College in January and was on the soccer team.

His mother, Pat Roser, said it was a leg injury in high school that strengthened Ethan’s faith and helped lead him to Wheaton, a Christian liberal arts school.

“That just totally changed him, and he wanted to go and tell other young people about God,” she said. “That’s what he was doing at Wheaton.

The DuPage County Coroner’s office said in a news release that it reached the preliminary finding after conducting an autopsy on the body of 19-year-old Ethan Roser. His preliminary cause of death was listed as a head trauma.

The hammer used in such competitions is a metal ball attached to a steel wire. It can weigh as much as 16 pounds.

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