Jackson, a fullback and outside linebacker for Euclid High School in Euclid, walked off the field after the play, went to the hospital on Friday and was released, WEWS reported.
On Sunday, the high school junior went to a hospital, was treated, and died. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office said Tuesday that the cause of death was a blow to Jackson’s abdomen, which led to a small bowel laceration and peritonitis. Peritonitis is inflammation of the membrane lining the inner abdominal wall.
“This community just lost such a special boy, and he’s irreplaceable. There’ll never be a smile like Andre Jackson’s,” Jeff Rotsky, Euclid High’s head football coach, told WEWS.
“He would be the first kid at study hall. He’d go for extra help. He was what you want to see out of a young man who wanted more out of life,” Rotsky said. “He deserved so much more.”
Although football-related deaths are extremely rare, a few other high schools across the country have lost players at young ages this year.
High school football deaths, by the numbers
Including Jackson, there have been five high school football-related fatalities since July, according to the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
- “Officials and coaches must ensure proper enforcement of the rules of the game. A significant number of concussions and catastrophic injuries occur because of improper and illegal contact, such as spear tackling.”
- “Removing tackling from football altogether would likely lead to a decrease in the incidence of overall injuries, severe injuries, catastrophic injuries and concussions.”
- “The expansion of nontackling leagues for young athletes who enjoy the game of football and want to be physically active but do not want to be exposed to the collisions currently associated with the game should be considered by football leagues and organizations.”
- “Efforts should be made by coaches and officials to reduce the number of impacts to the head that occur during participation in football. Further research is needed in this area.”
- “Delaying the age at which tackling is introduced to the game would likely decrease the risk of these injuries for the age levels at which tackling would be prohibited.”
- “Although definitive scientific evidence is lacking, strengthening of the cervical musculature (in the neck) will likely reduce the risk of concussions in football by limiting the acceleration of the head after impact.”
- “Efforts should be made by football teams to have athletic trainers at the sidelines during organized football games and practices.”
Many experts point to a shortage of full-time high school athletic trainers as a possible link to the higher risk of injury for young football players.
“This number must increase further to provide appropriate medical coverage at athletic practices and games for secondary school athletes,” the study concludes.