District Cancels Football Season Following Death of Player
A school district in upstate New York has canceled the rest of its football season due to the recent death of a player.
Last week, Damon Janes, a running back for the combined Brocton Central School/Westfield Academy and Central School football team, passed away after losing consciousness from a helmet-to-helmet hit that occurred in a game the prior weekend.
As a result, the Westfield school board unanimously approved a recommendation this past Monday to cancel the remainder of the football season, according to a statement on the district's website.
In the statement, the district explained the rationale behind the decision:
"The pending motion was shared with players from both teams at a team meeting on Monday. 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."
During Monday's meeting, school board president Jeffrey Greabell made clear just how deeply Janes' death has resonated throughout the community, per The Observer.
"I would like to commend our coaches, football players and their families for their continued strength and conviction during what has been one of the worse times we have ever experienced. Our hearts are truly broken and our thoughts and prayers continue to be directed to Damon's family, classmates, his friends and his teammates. This is a time that is sacred and should be protected. Grief, while shared, is unique to each of us.
We are not giving up Damon's legacy. 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."
The district had already postponed all sporting events and homecoming activities last week even before the school board's decision. According to The Buffalo News, the teams that were originally scheduled to play the Westfield/Brocton squad now have byes.
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