High School Football Team Cancels Its Season After Teammate's Death

Inspiring 5

We sometimes jump to conclusions when it comes to teens and assume they will always make choices that put themselves first. But a varsity football team in Brocton, New York, serves as an inspiration to us all after its young players voted to cancel their season so they could honor and mourn the death of a teammate

On September 13, 16-year-old star running back Damon Janes endured what doctors called a "helmet-to-helmet" hit during the third quarter of the Westfield/Brocton High School game. He was able to get up on his feet, but lost consciousness on the sidelines and died in a Buffalo hospital three days later. The close-knit town held vigils and fundraisers for Janes' family and his teammated grappled with the idea of playing the rest of the season and dedicating the games to Janes, which would have been a lovely and thoughtful move, for sure.

But what's really impressive and unexpected about this story is that the boys didn't force themselves to take a blockbuster movie approach to their situation. They found themselves struggling with their emotions, even questioning the importance of football in the grand scheme of things, and after taking a paper-ballot vote, decided to end their season after having played only two games. I don't feel there was a right or wrong choice here, but I respect the fact that these teens value the need they have to mourn their friend and found that more important than playing football.

I only hope the coaches at other schools that have recently dealt with the tragic deaths of football players, including Haas Middle School in Texas -- where a boy recently died after an allergic reaction on the field to ants -- acted with as much compassion as the leaders at Westfield/Brocton, who put their teen players' feelings and needs ahead of everything else. 

What do you think about the teens' decision to end their football season?


Image Via Jayel Aheram/Flickr



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nonmember avatar elaine smith

That showed respect for their friend and his family good choice boys and keep your heads up cAuse you have a reward coming

bills... billsfan1104

Please get the story straight. There was no helmet to helmet hit. The doctors are looking into a pre existing condition.

bills... billsfan1104

These kids are devastated and they are afraid. I feel for them.

These towns are small an everyone knows everyone. In fact, we are all are grieving for the family and the whole community.

keelh... keelhaulrose

Billsfan, where are you getting it wasn't a helmet to helmet hit? I've read six different news sources, and they all blame the hit, none mentioned a pre-existing condition.

bills... billsfan1104

Keel, I live in Buffalo and at first they said it was a helmet to helmet hit. But after reviewing the game tape, they said there was no contact.

The interview was on WBEN, our local stations and they are looking for a pre existing condition or family history.

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