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18-year-old Grinnell College football player killed in collision on I-80 near Altoona

A semi-truck was traveling west on I-80 when 18-year-old Davis Cooper of Pasadena, Calif. entered the roadway and was struck and killed.

POLK COUNTY, Iowa — A Grinnell College student is dead following an overnight collision on Interstate 80 westbound near Altoona on Monday, Iowa State Patrol said in a crash report

A semi-truck was traveling west on I-80 when 18-year-old Davis Cooper of Pasadena, Calif. entered the roadway on foot and was struck and killed around 10:30 p.m.

According to Sgt. Alex Dinkla, Cooper's vehicle was parked at a convenience store nearby. 

Cooper was a freshman at Grinnell, where he was a member of the football team, the school said in a message to the community. He graduated from Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif. 

The school said in part:

"Grief can be experienced in many different ways. For some, engaging in classes and work will provide comfort and meaning; for others, it will be impossible to do so. Please take the time and space you need for yourself and with each other."

Students, faculty and community members gathered to remember Cooper at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Rosenfield Campus Center

Local 5 reached out to the school to ask what are some of the ways counselors can help students handle grief.

They were unable to speak with Local 5 because they're dealing with their "students, faculty and staff." So Local 5 reached out to another school that's gone through similar situations.

Kristen Sievert, director of student counseling services at Iowa State University, said students dealing with the loss of another student can be hard.

And she noted the biggest thing students should do, is giving themselves time to heal.

"Talk about that grief," Sievert said. "To give yourself space to kind of process it, whether that be with other people or maybe it's journaling."

She also noted it's important to talk about one's feelings and not hold it in because it can negatively impact a person.

"The grief doesn't go away," Sievert said. "It just shows up in other ways. It can contribute to the person feeling depressed or anxious or having other mental health struggles come up."

She also said never put grief on a timeframe and if a person is struggling, never be afraid to reach out for help if you are struggling.

Local 5 will update this story as more information becomes available. Download the We Are Iowa app or subscribe to Local 5's "5 Things to Know" email newsletter for the latest.

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