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Paralyzed ex-Baylor DB Woods dies

WACO, Texas -- Former Baylor defensive back Kyle Woods, paralyzed from the neck down during a practice in 1979, has died. He was 49.

Woods had a heart attack on March 22 and never regained consciousness. He died Thursday at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, the university announced in a news release.

"Kyle Woods is an icon and beloved member of the Baylor family who will be remembered for his warm friendship, perseverance through tragedy and being a source of inspiration to all of us," said Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw. "He will always hold a special place in both our hearts and Baylor Athletics history."

As a 19-year-old sophomore from Dallas, Woods fractured his neck and severely damaged his spinal cord while making a tackle during a Baylor practice in 1979.

Former Baylor coach Grant Teaff set up a trust fund that same year that was used to help purchase a home for Woods in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas, where he lived for 29 years, The Dallas Morning News reported in a Friday obituary.

In 2000, Baylor professor L.M. Dyson and former teammates Scott Smith and Robert "Radar" Holt raised $92,000 to buy Woods a van with a wheelchair lift.

In 2003, they began a campaign to build Woods a bigger, more accessible house. Baylor gave $60,000, and $160,000 more was raised to go toward a home for Woods in Cedar Hill. The home was also furnished with new furniture and appliances.

"It's kind of mind-boggling that people still care about you after all this time," Woods told the Waco Tribune-Herald last May. "I guess there's just a bond that hasn't been broken."

Funeral arrangements were pending.