Brocton football player dies from on-field injury

Sep 17, 2013

Damon W. Janes, 16, a football player from Brocton in Chautauqua County, died Monday from a head injury suffered on the field last Friday night.

Janes, a junior attending Brocton Central High School, was hospitalized following a helmet-to-helmet collision during a varsity football game between his Westfield/Brocton team and Portville. 

The 16-year-old, who played running back, reportedly lost consciousness after being hit in the third quarter of the game. The rest of the game was called off following the collision.

A photograph of Damon Janes, provided to Women and Children's Hospital by his family.
Credit Family of Damon Janes

Women and Children's Hospital issued a statement late Monday afternoon, saying Janes "lost his fight and went to be with the Lord."

Western New Yorkers rallied for the injured teenager over the weekend, using the Twitter hashtag #PrayForDamon. Students held a vigil at the school Saturday. Many wore green, the school's color, today.

Through the hospital, Janes's parents are expressing their gratitude to "those who have supported and prayed for Damon and his family." They are requesting privacy at this time.

Sports concussions remain a major topic.

"Telling them that they have to stop playing soccer, ice hockey, lacrosse or football is very difficult. I try to give them the best information we have, based on the findings so far," said Dr. John Leddy, director of UB's Concussion Clinic.

In a recent WBFO News interview, Dr. Leddy said parents continue to struggle with the question of their child playing a contact sport.

"We're starting to realize that competitive concussions are not good for long term brain health," said Leddy. "We don't know the exact number yet. We don't know how many is too many, but people are starting to get worried after athletes are having three or more injuries."

WBFO News has reached out to the Brocton Central School District. Both the superintendent and school board president declined to comment. But the district website says all sporting contests were postponed  through this Friday. Counseling services were also being made available to students. The district extended its thoughts and prayer to the family and teammates.

The following is a statement issued on the Brocton Central School District website:

"Our school and community is devastated by the football tragedy that occurred at the game last Friday night and we are grieving his loss.  Damon was a unique, artistic, smart, athletic and friendly young man.  Currently we are reaching out to support his family and friends and ask for time to mourn Damon's passing.  Our strength, love and faith will pull us together to get us through this difficult time.

Crisis counseling services will be available to students in both Brocton and Westfield throughout the coming days.  Our continued thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, classmates and teammates."