Hearts are breaking in the small, close-knit community of Brocton, New York, after the death of 16-year-old Damon Janes. Damon collided with another player head-on during a game Friday evening and died as a result of his massive head injury on Monday.
According to The Buffalo News, Damon was a running back on the Westfield/Brocton football squad, and by all accounts, a valuable member of the team. After suffering the hit, he lost consciousness and was rushed to the hospital, where he was treated and monitored until finally succumbing to his injuries late Monday. The community is reeling from the loss of this young man.
While an autopsy will be performed to determine exactly what happened in the incident, Ken Stoldt, chairman of the Section VI Football Federation, reported that the local football community is “deeply saddened” by Damon’s death.
Severe blows to the head that result in death while playing high school football are rare, but sadly, they do exist. Two years ago, a 16-year-old defensive tackle from a high school in central New York died after suffering a fatal cerebral hemorrhage. In fact, between 2003 and 2012, 25 high school players have suffered fatal injuries.
What should concerned moms know about football? Charlotte Jones Anderson, the Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer for the NFL Foundation recently wrote a piece for the Huffington Post that included the following advice to parents regarding football safety:
Be an active participant. As a parent, it's not enough just to worry about your kids' safety. Learn about the game of football and the safety measures that have been put in place to protect them so you worry less. Ask the tough questions: find out whether your child's coach is Heads Up Football certified. Educate yourself about the symptoms of a concussion and other potential injuries so you know what to do and who to call. Heads Up Football and USA Football put together this checklist for parents (available on the USA Football free app), which I make sure is with me and other parents on the sidelines of our kids' games.
Providing our kids with the right equipment and making sure it fits properly is key to increasing safety of the game -- that goes for any sport. While there is no way to prevent all injuries, a football helmet can help protect your athlete. I encourage parents to learn about how a football helmet and all protective equipment, including pads, should fit. For information on equipment fitting visit USA Football Resource Center.