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” . . . We tried to stay out of the way and let the Sullivan family tell the story of what happened”

E:60 producer explains approach on profile of Notre Dame student who died tragically filming football practice

Many people have heard about Declan Sullivan, the Notre Dame student who died while filming football practice in 2010. What most people don’t know is how his parents, Alison and Barry, and their family turned the tragic loss of Declan into something beautiful. E:60 tells that story (Sunday, 9 a.m., ESPN).

“[Reporter] Chris Connelly and I didn’t try to tell the story a certain way, as much as we tried to stay out of the way and let the Sullivan family tell the story of what happened through their experiences,” said producer Dan Lindberg.

Lindberg says anyone who has experienced loss and grieving can learn so much from the Sullivans’ story.

GameDay returns to South Bend

College GameDay kicks off the season at Notre Dame this weekend (Saturday, 9 a.m. ET, ESPN) where the Fighting Irish host the Michigan Wolverines later that night.

“People grieve in different ways, as was the case with Barry and Alison, but they had one very important thing in common that helped them through it. Neither of them ever felt anger towards Notre Dame over the accident,” said Lindberg. “They wanted to understand what had happened to make sure that nothing like that ever happened again, and then in turn, they wanted to use this tragedy to help others, which they still are doing.”

Instead of turning to anger, the Sullivans started a charity in Declan’s name that has helped hundreds of children in Chicago through the Horizons for Youth foundation.

“They chose to handle the tragedy with dignity, grace, and class. Everyone followed their lead saying, ‘If they aren’t angry, can I be?’ So how they handled it helped so many other people who were in pain over what happened,” said Lindberg. “They are naturally good-hearted people who wanted less pain and suffering in this world.”

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