High School Football Player, 14, Dies of Head Injury After Game: 'You Will Always Be Our Hero'

Tyler Christman, a 14-year-old freshman at New York's Carthage High School, died Tuesday after suffering a head injury during a football game over the weekend

Tyler Christman
Tyler Christman. Photo: Facebook

An upstate New York teen has died after sustaining a head injury during a high school football game.

On Saturday, Tyler Christman, a 14-year-old freshman at Carthage High School, collapsed on the sidelines during a junior varsity football game against West Genesee High School, Syracuse.com and NBC New York reported. He was then rushed to the hospital where he underwent surgery, which revealed he suffered swelling and bleeding in his frontal cortex, according to Syracuse.com

Following surgery, Christmas was placed on life support. He died on Tuesday, WWNYTV reported.

Christman's father, Jason, has since spoken out, writing on Facebook: "We all prayed for a miracle to happen for you to be saved. Sadly, the damage was just too much."

"You will always be our hero and soon you will be a hero to the people that receive your life saving organ donations," he continued, "and a hero to all the family members who have spent many sleepless nights praying for their miracle."

Opening up about the fatal incident, West Genesee junior varsity coach Brian McAvan told Syracuse.com that "it was just a regular JV football game."

McAvan added that and no single play or hit appeared to contribute to the athlete's death, according to Syracuse.com.

During a Monday gathering of West Genesee junior varsity players, Faith Parks, Christman's aunt, assured the athletes that her nephew's injury was an accident and said that "nobody should feel at fault," McAvan told the outlet.

"She said Tyler would have wanted you to play. It was more of an empathy message than anything else," he added.

McAvan, varsity head coach Joe Corley and the community of West Genesee had raised $3,500 for the Christman family as of Monday, which Parks said they planned to put toward a scholarship in the late player's name, Syracuse.com reported.

Carthage Central School District Superintendent Jennifer Premo expressed condolences, saying in a statement shared with PEOPLE: "The Carthage Central School District is deeply saddened by the sudden and tragic loss of freshman student athlete Tyler Christman. Tyler was an outstanding student who was highly involved in the school community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."

Premo added that counseling support and services are available to staff and students, and will continue to be offered in the coming weeks.

In a separate statement also shared with PEOPLE, Athletic Director Jason Brown and football coach Jason Coffman remembered Christman as "an amazing young athlete" who "participated on many of our athletic teams at Carthage Central."

"His ability to be an outstanding teammate and infectious personality will be greatly missed by all that knew him. Words cannot describe how heartbroken we all are for the entire Christman family," they stated. "Tyler, and all of the Christman's have been a very big part of the Carthage Football family for years. Our sincerest condolences go out to their entire family."

Christman's death follows a string in high school football tragedies. Earlier this year, 18-year-old Emmanuel "Manny" Antwi collapsed during a football game in Sacramento, while Miguel Lugo, 17, died from a medical emergency during practice in New York and Joshua Ivory Jr., 15, died after collapsing at a football practice in Georgia.

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