"He would give to anyone and everyone if he had it," his mom reportedly said of the decision to donate his organs
Three days after Jacquez Welch was rushed to the ICU after he was tackled during a high school football game — revealing a brain condition his family didn’t know he had — the 17-year-old Florida student was taken off life support after doctors determined he was “completely brain dead,” according to Bay News 9.
Welch, described as a star linebacker and running back at St. Petersburg’s Northeast High School with a 4.0 GPA, collapsed after he took a hard hit during the school’s football game on Friday night.
He was taken to a local hospital and diagnosed with a pre-existing condition unknown to the family that caused his brain to bleed.
The rare condition, an arteriovenous malformation, causes blood vessels in the brain to form abnormally, leaving them vulnerable to tears that can cause the brain or spine to hemorrhage, according to Mayo Clinic.
Welch’s mother, Marcia Nelson, told local station WFTS that doctors told her there was likely nothing the family could have done to eventually prevent a health crisis.
“The doctors told me this would have happened whether he was on the field playing or not,” Nelson told WFTS.
“It was something he couldn’t control, nobody could control, so it’s keeping me calm and understanding … what happened,” she told Bay News 9. “Tragedy happened, but it was a cause that I couldn’t control, so maybe that’s more why I’m a little calmer.”
On Monday, Welch was taken off life support with the knowledge that his organs would go to help seven people, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
“Quez was a giving person. He would give to anyone and everyone if he had it,” Nelson told the newspaper. “He wanted to do this.”
Just days before the incident, Welch had received a scholarship to Concordia University in Minnesota.
“He was very excited about that scholarship,” said Fernando Monroe, a quarterback from a rival school, according to the Times. “It shows he wasn’t just a good football player but a good student, too.”
“The last thing I told him was to have a good game and ball out, and I’ll talk to him later,” Monroe recalled.
On Sunday, Welch’s teammates signed his jersey, which was framed and then carried onto the field before one of their games.
A GoFundMe for the family has been set up, which has raised more than $17,000.