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The New Haven Register sports department is celebrating our 200th birthday by sharing 200 of the most interesting stories relating to sports in Greater New Haven over the past 200 years. Check back daily for historical updates.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Yale Bowl's saddest day: Oct. 24, 1931

It was another perfect autumn afternoon at the Yale Bowl on Oct. 24, 1931. A crowd of 75,000 packed the stadium to see Yale and Army, two college football heavyweights of the day. The mood was positively electric as the teams traded touchdowns on the first two plays of the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs elevating the spirit of the home crowd on an 88-yard kickoff return by Bud Parker to knot the score at 6-6.

Within minutes, however, the bowl went silent as Army’s Richard Sheridan lay motionless on the turf.

Sheridan, a junior end who weighed 149 pounds, attempted to tackle Yale’s Bob Lassiter following a punt. Sheridan’s head struck Lassiter’s knee. The Army cadet suffered a broken neck.

Rushed to New Haven Hospital in critical condition he underwent emergency surgery, but doctors held out little hope. Sheridan died there two days later, the first and only on-field fatality in Yale Bowl history.

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