Damon Janes, a 16-year-old junior running back at Brocton Central School, died Monday after losing consciousness from a helmet-to-helmet hit in a game Friday night. He passed away from his injuries at Women & Children’s Hospital in Buffalo.
Janes was a running back on the Westfield/Brocton football team and lost consciousness after a helmet-to-helmet collision during a game against Portville Friday. He was a junior at Brocton Central School. The teen’s official cause of death has yet to be determined.
Damon’s grieving parents released a statement expressing their “gratitude to those who have supported and prayed for Damon and his family.”
Janes’ passing has come a shock to the local community, where friends and strangers alike had spent three days praying and holding vigils in the hope that the 16-year-old would pull through.
Ken Stoldt, chairman of the Section VI Football Federation, told Buffalo News the local football community is “deeply saddened” by Damon’s death.
In the third quarter, the junior received a hard hit to the head and was able to walk off the field on his own, but collapsed on the sidelines.
He was rushed to Olean General Hospital before being transported to the medical center in Buffalo, where he died three days later without ever regaining consciousness. After learning of Janes’ untimely passing, students in Brocton, Westfield and Portville donned school colors Monday in honor of the 16-year-old.
All sporting and homecoming events have been canceled at Brocton Central School this week in the wake of the tragedy, and grief councilors have been brought in to help students and staff deal with their loss.
The teen’s death comes just weeks after 16-year-old De’Antre Turman, a junior at Creekside High School in Fairburn, Georgia, passed away after fracturing a vertebrae in his spine during a football game. The high school football community in the Western New York region also has been touched by tragedy in recent years. In October 2011, 16-year-old Ridge Barden, of John C. Birdlebough High School in Phoenix, died after sustaining a head injury during a football game against Homer.