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High School Football Player Dies After Helmet-to-Helmet Hit

A 16-year-old high school football player from upstate New York died Monday after losing consciousness from a helmet-to-helmet hit that occurred in a game on Friday.

Damon Janes, a running back for the combined Brocton Central School/Westfield Academy and Central School football team, was involved in the helmet-to-helmet collision in the third quarter of a game against Portville Central School. He reached the sideline on his own power after the hit, according to the Olean Times Herald, but lost consciousness on the sideline and had to be carted off the field. The game was called off after the incident.

Janes was initially transported to Olean General Hospital, the paper reported, and was then moved to the Intensive Care Unit at Women and Children's Hospital in Buffalo. He remained in the ICU throughout the weekend before dying on Monday afternoon, The Buffalo News reported.

"Our school and community is devastated by the football tragedy that occurred at the game last Friday night, and we are grieving his loss," Brocton Superintendent John Hertlein wrote on the district's website. "Our strength, love, and faith will pull us together to get us through this difficult time."

Authorities will conduct an autopsy on Janes in the coming days.

Even before Janes died, Brocton had postponed all sporting events and homecoming activities this week. Hundreds of people have taken to Twitter to express their sorrow, using the hashtag #PrayForDamon. U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also joined in yesterday.

As noted by Sports Illustrated, Janes' death marks the second time in the past month that a high school student-athlete has died after a sports-related injury. A suburban Atlanta high school football player, De'Antre Turman, fractured a vertebrae in his upper spinal cord during a scrimmage in mid-August.

Since 2003, there have been a total of 25 deaths among high school football players directly related to football, according to the latest Annual Survey of Football Injury Research from the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research and the University of North Carolina.

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