Tyrell Cameron, a football player at Franklin Parish High School in Winnsboro, La., died Friday night, Sept 4, as a result of injuries suffered in a home football game, CNN reports.
Tyrell was pronounced dead at Franklin Medical Center shortly after his injury, according to coroner’s office spokesman Shane Scott. The cause of death is still under investigation, but television station KNOE-8 (CBS affiliate) reported that Tyrell’s neck was broken during a fourth-quarter punt return.
According to his coach, Barry Sebren, Tyrell was running down the field after his team punted in Friday night’s game. He is reported to have turned into a blocker and was injured in the block. A vigil was planned for Saturday night, and final arrangements are still pending. But, “We’re going to send him out big; that’s what he deserved,” Mr Sebren said.
Thousands of people have posted memorials and condolences on social media, and I join with them here in expressing sympathy to Tyrell’s family, his friends, and the entire community of Franklin Parish High School for their loss.
From the school’s athletics program:
Tyrell will live on in the memory of those who loved him. Prayers for his family. Support from throughout the state is greatly appreciated
— FPHS-athletics (@fphs_athletics) September 5, 2015
From the opposing team, Sterlington High School:
All of Sterlington Football's prayers are with the Franklin Parish family tonight. Tonight and in the coming weeks we are all Patriots.
— Sterlington Football (@RiseUpAndFight1) September 5, 2015
Helmets and padding can protect players against impact injuries, including lacerations and fractures, but a broken neck is not necessarily an “impact” injury and isn’t covered as part of the protection helmets provide. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons writes:
A severe, sudden twist to the neck or a severe blow to the head or neck area can cause a neck fracture. Sports involving violent physical contact carry a greater risk of neck fracture, including football, ice hockey, rugby, and wrestling. Spearing an opponent in football or rugby can cause a broken neck. Neck fractures are also related to several non-contact sports such as skiing, swimming, diving, surfing, power weightlifting, and horseback riding.
Voxitatis once again renews our call to change the way blocking and tackling is done in football. Nothing can be done to prevent accidents, but the use of the head should be prohibited. If we can’t figure out and implement a way to prevent these serious injuries during normal routine play, we will lose this game, which is, based on attendance at high school football games compared to other sports, well loved by many Americans, a source of maturation and development for young men, and a source of revenue for our schools.