Chad Stover, a junior football player at Tipton (Mo.) High School who had been hospitalized since October following an in-game head injury, died Thursday in Columbia.
He was 17.
Scott Jarvis, Tipton School District's superintendent, confirmed Stover's passing to the Associated Press on Thursday afternoon.
Stover, who played defensive back and wore No. 18 for the Cardinals, was injured in an Oct. 31 playoff game against local rival Sacred Heart. After being attended to on the field, Stover was rushed via helicopter to University Hospital in Columbia, which is a little less than an hour away driving from Tipton.
Though the details of Stover's exact diagnosis have not been disclosed for privacy reasons, he is said to have suffered a "severe brain injury," per Brendan Cullerton of KOMU 8. At University, Stover was attached to a ventilator to help him breathe.
"Chad Stover is a great young man who happened to suffer an uncontrollable injury on the field," Jarvis said at the time. "He is surrounded by family and siblings at this point, and we wish him the best."
Since Stover's injury, the family has received overwhelming support from the local community. Residents put up over 1,000 red ribbons across Tipton, and the school board offered counseling and help for any students who were trying to aid in Stover's recovery.
"We've pulled together and we've done a good job," Jarvis said, via DeAnn Smith and Alan Shope of KCTV5. "You think you're in Tipton. You are in the middle of nowhere, but we found out that we're not ... People are reaching out to us from all over the place."
Stover's mother, Amy, indicated that her son's condition was worsening by the day in a post on the website CaringBridge.org, a nonprofit that supports families in medical emergencies and offers community support.
"He has so many different injuries going on in that beautiful head of his," her entry said, per the AP.
The Missouri State High School Activities Association has been made aware of Stover's passing and will open a preliminary review to judge the level of care he received on the field prior to being sent to the hospital.
Spokesperson Jason West said the MSHSAA was still sorting out the details on how exactly Stover was injured, but indicated that officials made the right decision stopping the game. There were about six minutes remaining when Stover was injured.
Stover's death comes at a time where many across the nation have begun questioning whether head injuries associated with football make it too dangerous for youths to play. It comes just three days after Charles Youvella, a high school senior in Arizona, died as the result of a brain trauma suffered during a playoff football game. In September, Damon Janes, a 16-year-old running back for Brocton (N.Y.) High School, died as a result of a head-to-head collision.
Amid outcries, the National Academy of Sciences released a study in October that indicated high school football players are nearly twice as likely to suffer concussions than ones in college, per ESPN's Tom Farrey.
High school football players are concussed at a rate of 11.2 concussions per 10,000 "athletic exposures," which is far higher than any other sport studied.
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