Six High School Football Players Have Died From Brain or Neck Injuries This Year


High School Football Game in Texas

Source: Colby Ellis

The great majority of the concussion controversy in football focuses on the NFL, but a Buzzfeed report on the number of teenagers who have died from brain or neck injuries sustained playing football this year is terrifying.

Last week we reported the news that 17-year-old Hopi High School student Charles Youvella died from a traumatic brain injury suffered during a game days earlier. He scored his team’s only touchdown of the game, but minutes later was tackled in what appeared to be a “normal” play. It was during that tackle that Youvella suffered the brain injury which would end his life.

Then, on Thursday, Chad Stover, a young high school football player from Missouri died two weeks after suffering a brain injury during a football game. Sadly, Stover and Youvella are not the only young athletes we have lost this year to brain injuries.

A study published in 2012 at the University of North Carolina reported that 25 high school football players died between 2003 and 2012 from injuries directly related to football (exclusing issues like heat stroke). That averages out to 2.5 a year, but this year we have nearly tripled that number. Including Youvella and Stover, six high school football players have died this year from head or neck injuries. Buzzfeed collected information on the other four players:

  • 17-year-old Jaleel Gipson of Farmerville, La. died in May from a broken back suffered during what coaches called a “textbook” tackle.
  • 16-year-old De’Antre Turman of College Park, Ga. died during a preseason scrimmage in August, breaking his neck during a tackle. His uncle told the local CBS affiliate in Atlanta that it was “a regular hit that he’s made 1,000 times.”
  • 16-year-old Damon Janes of Brocton, N.Y. died in September after a helmet-to-helmet hit in a game. He staggered to his feet but collapsed once he reached the sidelines. Three days later, he was dead. His teammates took a vote and agreed to forfeit the rest of the season.
  • 17-year-old Dylan Jeffries of Lost Creek, W. Va., died in October from injuries sustained during a game on Sept. 27. He was rushed to the local hospital with a blood clot in his brain and put into a medically induced coma. He died less than two weeks later.


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