Former Penn State football player loses battle with cancer, dies at age 37

(Allentown) Morning Call (TNS)
Mike Gasparato

Mike Gasparato, a former Penn State football player who scored a touchdown on the final carry of his career, died Thursday after a battle with cancer. He was 37.

Gasparato, who played for Penn State from 2000-04, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in January 2018. According to a gofundme page started last year, Gasparato had the tumor removed, and a March appointment showed no signs of cancer.

Tumors were detected again in August, and Gasparato underwent continued treatment.

A standout high school player in South Carolina, Gasparato played running back for the Lions. In the 2004 season-opener against Central Florida, Gasparato scored a 22-yard touchdown. Following the game, Gasparato announced his retirement because of injuries.

He finished his Penn State career with 39 carries for 196 yards, averaging 5.0 yards per carry.

After college, Gasparato coach became a high school teacher and coach in South Carolina. His brother Greg is an assistant coach at Appalachian State, which played at Penn State in 2018. Their late father Nick coached for Penn State’s 1986 national-championship team.