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High school football team cancels season after death of player

1380200959000-AP-Friday-Night-Palace AP

A high school football team in New York has played their final football game of the season. Westfield Academy had their football season brought to a tragic end after a player died following a helmet-to-helmet hit during a game earlier this month.

Damon Janes, a 16-year old junior, lost consciousness after the devastating hit in a game on September 13. He died three days later. Earlier this week the school board voted on a recommendation made by the superintendent to cancel the rest of the football season at Westfield Academy. The school board voted unanimously in favor of the decision

“The pending motion was shared with players from both teams at a team meeting on Monday,” a statement on the school’s website reads. “During the meeting, players shared creative and positive ways to honor Damon Janes through our athletic programs and school communities for the remainder of the year and into the future. This will be a student driven effort and allow Damon’s friends and teammates to continue the grieving process off of the playing field. “

“We are not giving up Damon’s legacy,” Superintendent David Davison said, according to The Observer. “We are taking time to heal. Our players need time to grieve and have time to be together away from the lights and games for a while.”

It is often believed sports can provide a sense of togetherness that allows for healing. Far be it from me to suggest the team should continue playing, because every community is different. Regardless of whether canceling the season is right or wrong, the importance of safety for players continues to be a concern. If putting the rest of the season saves just one more player from serious trauma, then it is clear that canceling the season is absolutely the right choice.

Helmet sticker to USA Today.

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13 Responses to “High school football team cancels season after death of player”
  1. YouMadCauseImStylingOnYou says: Sep 26, 2013 6:46 PM

    So they are punishing all of those kids and throwing their hard work and devotion out the window because one of their teammates died in a freak accident?

    Sounds like a well thought out, logic response.

    Was Mark Emmert leading this school board?

  2. shadowcell says: Sep 26, 2013 7:19 PM

    If this is what the team wanted (and the linked article suggests that it is) then that is all that matters.

    Rest in peace, Damon.

  3. mauldawg says: Sep 26, 2013 7:26 PM

    Youmad etc You are a total heartless IDIOT.

  4. ajarkoski says: Sep 26, 2013 7:46 PM

    This is opposite of a normal reaction. Tragedy brings people together. They go on and devote the season in rememberence of the fallen. I am sure the victm would want them to play on. Sounds like some backwards thinking to me. This is an academy that is supposed to teach about overcoming adversity, not quitting. Some people are going to fall. Do you stop living? Stop doing whatever you are doing? If the going gets rough, quit. Amazing and sad.

    Shadow – kids are easily influenced and I can see the coaches/school convincing them to quit. They are ready to be taught and this is one bad lesson in life.

  5. shadowcell says: Sep 26, 2013 8:04 PM

    I am not the one who actually has to deal with this adversity, so I don’t get to tell the people who are dealing with it that they’re doing it “the wrong way.” Why do you think you do, ajarkoski?

    And I wonder what lesson it sends to those kids if you dismiss the wishes of the people who actually have to play as just “being easily influenced by coaches/the school” and therefore irrelevant?

  6. thegamecocker says: Sep 26, 2013 8:06 PM

    Whatever the team wants is what I would support. Prayers and well-wishes to Damon James Family, Friends, and his football teammates. May he RIP.

  7. ningenito78 says: Sep 26, 2013 9:56 PM

    An absolutely tragic story. But how the hell does canceling the season for everyone ‘honor’ the player? I mean it with all due respect to the player, his family, teammates, and the community but it’s a knee jerk reaction that cause the death to become something that drags everyone down instead of inspiring them to move forward. It’s the wrong message.

  8. buffalojill716 says: Sep 26, 2013 10:24 PM

    This is a small school outside of Buffalo and this is what the kids wanted. They didn’t have the heart to play. The QB wanted to quit, others too. They just didn’t want to play anymore this year. This was NOT influenced by the parents or teachers. I love football and I know this may be hard for some to understand, but playing isn’t always the right thing. They aren’t taking this as a punishment at all, they feel calling it a season is honoring their friend. So honestly, don’t criticize the parents, coaches or administration. Let the parents of this poor kid, and his friends, mourn and heal in peace.

  9. mauldawg says: Sep 26, 2013 10:31 PM

    Some of these comments show what is wrong with to many Americans. Football is a game,the team can you understand the word team want to quit playing because this is what they felt was the right thing to do. To many of you think is better for the kids to put football above what they chose to do. Grow up.

  10. jeremyb91 says: Sep 26, 2013 11:03 PM

    This team is the only team in the country who has a player died and decided to cancel the remainder of the season. Usually teams decide to keep going, this team including the QB and other players just felt like after 2 games they didn’t want to play and did a ballot to see if others felt the same. They did therefore they cancelled the season.

    It’s not a decision I would make as well as others who have commented, but you have to respect the democracy of the decision.

  11. soundsofsuccess7 says: Sep 27, 2013 12:45 AM

    It seems like continuing to play and winning would honor his memory much better than ending the season.

  12. raiderufan says: Sep 27, 2013 9:26 AM

    This is unprecedented. Give them a break. It’s not quitting. They witnessed a friend and teammate DIE doing something they are now being asked to go out on the field and replicate.

    This is about life, not football. This is about a community healing and kids…not you dolts on the outside looking in.

  13. jumpinrudy says: Sep 27, 2013 4:06 PM

    Turn off the autoplay on this story. It’s annoying.

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