As the NFL continues to crack down on vicious helmet-to-helmet hits, a new reminder of the grave consequences has come to light.
According to the Buffalo News, a high school football player died on Monday from injuries sustained in a Friday night game following a hit to the helmet. Sixteen-year-old running back Damon Janes of New York was hit during the third quarter of a game between Brocton High School and rivals Portville. Janes was reportedly able to get to the sidelines on his own following the hit, but collapsed shortly thereafter, prompting the cancellation of the game. He was rushed to a Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, but never regained consciousness.
Word of Janes’ death came as a shock to the community, including the hundreds of students and teammates who had gathered at Brocton High School Sunday night for a vigil. According to Deadspin, many area residents also expressed sympathy for the student who made the fatal tackle, which was described as a “clean, accidental hit.”
In a statement, Janes’ parents expressed “gratitude to those who have supported and prayed for Damon and his family.”
Portville football coach Gary Swetland spoke out on the opposing team’s behalf, stating, “Our heart goes out to the Janes family. It’s just a tragic, tragic circumstance. Our players are saddened, our families are saddened, our school is saddened, our coaches are saddened, our officials are saddened, bus drivers, everybody. There is no one who isn’t desperately saddened by this.”
Per Deadspin, the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at UNC reports that 25 high school players have died playing football from 2003-2012, while 78 suffered irreversible brain damage and 71 received “catastrophic” cervical injuries.
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