A high school football player in New Jersey has died nearly two weeks after he was seriously injured during a football game earlier this month, officials said.
Xavier McClain, 16, succumbed to injuries sustained during a Sept. 9 game between his school, Linden High School and the nearby Woodbridge High School, Derek Armstead, the mayor of Linden, a city just 13 miles southwest of Manhattan, said Wednesday.
“With your prayers, Xavier fought a good fight. In the end, he succumbed to the injuries that he sustained a couple weeks ago while playing football during the LHS Tigers’ game vs Woodbridge,” Armstead wrote in a Facebook post.
“This news hurts because I have known his parents, Lisa and Norm for years, Xavier and Andres, their two sons, since they were little boys,” he said. “My wife and I spend time in their home and our children played together. Tragically, their worst fear came true.”
Linden was playing Woodbridge on their home field when McClain took a major hit during the second half of the game, NBC New York reported. The teenager was able to get back up on his feet, but collapsed again, prompting officials to call for an ambulance.
“He got right back up like he was a strong person, and then fell back down,” classmate Asia Marshall told NBC New York. It was just hurting and sad to see someone go so fast, thinking they were gonna go back home to end up in a coma, you know.”
McClain was taken to a hospital for treatment, but eventually succumbed to a severe head injury, the outlet reported.
A Twitter account identifying itself as the official page for Linden High School football shared a tribute to McClain on Thursday, with the words “Rest In Peace Xavier McClain.”
Armstead said the Linden community would do whatever it could to support McClain’s family in the wake of the tragedy. Armstead and the Linden High School did not immediately respond to overnight requests for comment.