An Ohio high school football team is mourning the loss of one its players after a seemingly harmless play turned out to be fatal.
Andre L. Jackson, 17, a student-athlete from Euclid High School, died on Sept. 25 from an injury he sustained during a football game against Solon High School. Jackson was a junior fullback and outside linebacker for the team.
Jackson was injured during a “completely normal” special teams play, said Euclid High School football coach Jeff Rotsky.
“There was a pooch kick,” Euclid High School head football coach Rotsky told WEWS. “He was going for the ball, and one of their guys was going for the ball, and I think he got kicked or kneed.”
Following the play, Jackson walked off the field and went to University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center, where he was later released. He then died less than two days later.
Rotsky fought back tears as he lamented the loss of Jackson.
“This community just lost such a special boy. And he’s irreplaceable,” he said.
“There will never be… a smile like Andre Jackson’s. No matter how much you asked him to do, he would do it for you. That’s the type of young man that, unfortunately, we lost today, “said an emotional Rotsky. “This is a young man that had the whole world in front of him.”
The school issued a statement to parents and students about Jackson’s untimely passing.
“Today, Euclid High School junior Andre L. Jackson passed away following an injury sustained during Friday night’s football game,” read the statement. “Andre was a hardworking student-athlete that brought smiles to all those with whom he came in contact. The Euclid City School District would like to extend its deepest sympathy to the Jackson family during this horrific time.”
The school is offering grief counseling to students and staff in the wake of Jackson’s death.
The team’s homecoming game is scheduled for Sept. 30, but it is unknown if the team will play.
According to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, there were seven football-related deaths—all of them high school students—during the 2015 season. Tackling is the cause of 71.5 percent of brain/head injuries on the field.