Damon Janes, a 16-year-old junior running back for the Brocton (N.Y.) High School varsity football team, died on Monday, Sept. 16 as a result of injuries suffered from a helmet-to-helmet hit.
UPDATE: Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 6:40 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
Westfield Academy and Central School announced its intent to cancel the team's remaining five games, issuing this statement on the school's website:
The Westfield Academy and Central School Board of Education unanimously approved a recommendation by the superintendent to cancel the remaining 2013 Varsity Football season during their September 23, 2013 meeting.
The pending motion was shared with players from both teams at a team meeting on Monday. During the meeting, players shared creative and positive ways to honor Damon Janes through our athletic programs and school communities for the remainder of the year and into the future. This will be a student driven effort and allow Damon’s friends and teammates to continue the grieving process off of the playing field.
Both Brocton and Westfield continue to offer support to students and players through district counseling departments. For parents and family members in need of assistance, grief counseling is available through several agencies and local churches.
Section VI has been notified of District’s decision to not complete the season.
---End of update---
In a statement released to WKBW News in Buffalo, Janes' parents and family sent their gratitude to everyone who reached out while the young man was hospitalized:
Damon W. Janes, 16, a Junior who attended Brocton Central School, lost his fight and went to be with the Lord following his injury resulting from helmet-to-helmet collision during a Westfield/Brocton varsity football game.
His parents wish to express their gratitude to those who have supported and prayed for Damon and his family, and continue to request that their privacy be respected at this time.
According to a report from Max Preps' high school sports blog, Janes lost consciousness after a hit from a Portville High School player in the third quarter of Friday's game.
Janes was being treated in the Intensive Care Unit at Women and Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, where he was placed in critical condition. He died at the hospital on Monday afternoon.
Charlie Specht of the The Buffalo News reported on the county's outpouring of support, which included candlelight vigils from students and multiple players visiting Janes in the hospital.
The National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at the University of North Carolina reported 25 deaths of high school football players from 2003 to 2013.
This marks the second time in less than a month tragedy has struck high school football. DeAntre Turman, a talented up-and-coming star from Georgia's College Park Creekside High, died in an August scrimmage after suffering a broken neck and fractured cervical vertebra.
An education official said that there is unlikely to be an investigation into the matter unless pressed by Brocton. Janes' cause of death is yet to be determined. When contacted by Specht, officials said there is no word on when or whether details would be released.
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