Kyle Mullen Navy SEAL candidate and former football star at Manaplan H.S and at Yale and Monmouth University dies during Hell Week training. Cause of death unknown and under investigation.
A death that could have been averted? A former football star has been identified as the individual who ‘died’ last week while completing the Navy SEAL’s highly intensive training phase, known as Hell Week. The man’s death on Friday comes after another contender was hospitalised in San Diego over the weekend.
In a release on Sunday, the Navy said Kyle Mullen, 24, of Manaplan, NJ died at a California hospital while training for the elite military squad’s underwater demolition program. The cause of Mullen’s death is currently unknown and is under investigation, according to the statement. The injured candidate is in stable condition at Naval Medical Center San Diego.
Neither Mullen nor the injured sailor, who has not been named, were ‘actively’ training when they began suffering symptoms, according to the Navy.
‘We extend our deepest sympathies to Seaman Mullen’s family for their loss,’ said Rear Adm. H.W. Howard III, the commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, in a statement. ‘We are extending every form of support we can to the Mullen family and Kyle’s … classmates.’
Both men started suffering symptoms ‘several hours’ after the sailors’ Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL (BUD/S) class had completed Hell Week and were taken for emergency medical care, according to a statement.
How does an elite athlete die during training?
Hell Week is ‘part of the first phase of the Navy SEAL assessment and selection pathway,’ according to Naval Special Warfare Command. It is considered the pinnacle of training for Navy SEALS and consists of five days in which trainees are constantly cold, hungry, sleep deprived and wet and are often pushed to ‘their physical and mental limit.’
Navy SEALS, considered the elite unit of the military’s naval arm, requires candidates to make it through a rigorous 26-week training program before they can join.
News of Kyle Mullen’s abrupt death led to shock and dismay amid those who knew him.
‘Great athlete but a better person,’ Ed Guerreri, the football coach at Manalapan High School where Mullen played told USA Today.
‘Everybody loved him,’ Guerreri said. ‘Probably one of the best kids I ever had. Great, great kid on the field but even better off the field.’
Mullen went on to play at Yale University, where he was selected second-team All-Ivy League as a defensive lineman, and for Monmouth University.
The Navy produces around 200 to 250 SEALs a year. In the last two decades, 17 have died during training, NBC News reported.
SEAL candidates go through 24 weeks of training throughout five phases, including a physical training test, obstacle courses, extensive swimming and running, combat diving, land warfare training and other physically difficult tests.
Many candidates do not make it pasted Phase 1, also known as Stage 3, and a ‘significant’ number begin to drop out.
The last SEAL candidate to die during training was Seaman Derek Lovelace, 21, who drowned in 2016. He was struggling to tread water in full gear and was reportedly pushed underwater at least twice. He lost consciousness and died.