HARRISONBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The James Madison University (JMU) community — especially the sports community — is in mourning after Lauren Bernett, a “high-achieving” member of the softball team, passed away.

The university’s athletics department shared the following statement on social media on Tuesday, April 26:

Dear JMU community,

Our hearts are aching, hearing the news of the loss of one of our student-athletes. Lauren Bernett was a high-achieving member of our softball team and a great ambassador of JMU and our athletics program. She was a key member of our 2021 Women’s College World Series team as a freshman catcher last year.

College athletics is great because of the people with whom we get to interact every day. We are a tight family. We are grateful that Lauren has been part of our JMU Athletics community and will always consider her to be a Duke. We will miss her dearly.

Our thoughts are with her family; her coaches, teammates and friends; the rest of our department staff and student-athletes; and the entire JMU community. JMU Nation is a close community, and we grieve together.

Joint statement released on April 26, 2022 by JMU President Jonathan Alger and JMU Athletics Director Jeff Bourne

For additional support, the university urges people to contact the following resources:

  • Counseling Center at 540-568-6552 
  • Dean of Students Office at 540-568-6468
  • Campus Crisis line after hours at 540-568-6552 
  • Sentara RMH Emergency Department at 540-689-1414
  • Self-Help resources available through the University Counseling Center
  • TAO mental health resource
  • Crisis Text Line – Text HOME to 741741 to reach a crisis counselor
  • Counseling Center’s additional 24/7 emergency information

School officials say the home softball doubleheader against Longwood has been canceled for Wednesday, April 27. Information about other remaining contests on JMU’s schedule will be shared once available.