N.Y. high school football team's games canceled after player's death

Sept. 27, 2013 at 11:22 AM
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WESTFIELD, N.Y., Sept. 27 (UPI) -- The remainder of a New York high school football team's season was canceled following the death of a player who was injured in a game, officials said.

Jeffrey Greabell, president of the Westfield Board of Education, said the communities of Westfield and Brocton had been "devastated" by the death of Damon Janes, The Observer in Dunkirk, N.Y., reproted.

Damon, 16, a running back on the Westfield/Brockton team lost consciousness after being injured in a game a week ago and died in Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo, The Buffalo News reported.

High school athletes in the two communities play on a combined varsity team.

"We are not giving up Damon's legacy," Greabell said. "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."

School Board members voted unanimously to cancel football until next fall.

Resident Barry Underwood said the board was making "a big mistake."

"If [the players] did tell you they were willing to cancel their season they're probably not telling the truth," he said.

Underwood, who said his two sons had played on midget and high school football teams, said: "I think Damon Janes, although I did not know him personally, he loved football. It's probably the last thing he wants to see."

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