16-year-old Damon W. Janes, a running back for Westfield/Brocton high school (NY), died over the weekend\ at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. Janes lost consciousness Friday night after a helmet-to-helmet collision in a game against Portville High. WGRZ released a statement from the hospital stating that Mr. Janes “lost his fight and went to be with the Lord following his injury resulting from a helmet-to-helmet collision during a Westfield/Brocton varsity football game.”
They [public officials] could not immediately say when an autopsy might be performed or when the cause of death would be determined. It was also unclear whether a formal investigation would take place, or who would direct it.
A spokesman from the state Education Department said the agency does not typically investigate such matters, and some officials said that any investigation may start with the two high schools at the game.
Ken Stoldt, chairman of the Section VI Football Federation, said the local football community is “deeply saddened” by Damon’s death. He urged compassion for the family and all those involved.
Brocton, a small village near Fredonia, had been coming together for Damon since word of the injury spread Friday night.
Sunday night, students gathered with parents and faculty in the high school cafeteria to talk about the severity of the injury.
Monday, students at the school wore Brocton High green in solidarity with Damon as they took to the Internet to urge others to pray for him.
Portville football coach Gary Swetland said Mr. Janes “was a running back — and a fine one.”
“Our heart goes out to the Janes family. It’s just a tragic, tragic circumstance,” Coach Swetland said. “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.”
The Westfield/Brocton junior, Coach Swetland said, reached the sideline under his own power following the on-field incident. Shortly after, he added, play was stopped for professionals to offer medical attention.
Mr. Janes was transported to Olean General Hospital and later to the Intensive Care Unit at Women & Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, where, according to hospital officials cited in numerous media reports, he was pronounced dead Monday afternoon.
“At the time, you certainly never anticipate anything like this. I spoke with their coach a couple times after the contest was over and people were headed back home,” Coach Swetland said. “Then we received information that this had gotten to be very, very serious.
“By Saturday I was in contact with our superintendent, and we were just basically trying to do what we could as respectfully and politely as we could, without overstepping any boundaries.”
“We continue be in touch with (our students) and touching base with them,” Portville Superintendent Tom Simon said. “We will do whatever necessary and have counseling services to meet their needs.”
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