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.