Tyler Christman, a 14-year-old JV football player at Carthage High School in Carthage, New York, died on Tuesday after suffering a severe head injury and collapsing during a weekend football game against West Genesee High School.
No details have been revealed about the exact nature of the head injury, but his family confirmed on social media that Tyler was hurt during a game.
Before Tyler was taken off life support Tuesday, his family took part in a hero walk, a ceremonial event that honors patients before an organ donation. He died shortly after.
Jason Christman, Tyler's father, published a memorial post on Facebook in tribute to his son.
"We love you for being you," Christman wrote. "We will FOREVER be grateful to be your mom and dad and we will always be your number one fans. There are no words to express how much we admire and love you.
"We always knew you were meant to stand out. This is not the way we envisioned it, but this is what we have been dealt. 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 and a hero to all the family members who have spent many sleepless nights praying for their miracle. YOU will be that miracle. You will live on as such a wonderful gift of love and life."
The community has rallied to honor and remember Tyler. Other high school football teams in the region will wear special helmets or stickers to honor him. West Genesee High School football coaches were able to give the Christman family a check for $3,500 to help with expenses after holding a 24-hour fundraiser. Police departments from around the county gathered to flash their lights in memory of Tyler. And hundreds gathered at Evans Mills Raceway on Tuesday night for a memorial.
Four high school football players have died since April
Tyler Christman is at least the fourth high school football player nationwide to die of football related injuries or illness in the last six months. Two players, Ivan Hicks from Philadelphia and Jack Alkhatib of South Carolina, died over the summer after collapsing during practices.
Dale Martin, an 18-year-old who played for Coleville High School in Coleville, Washington, collapsed on the field during a game in April after suffering a severe brain injury from a hit. He was rushed to the hospital and into emergency surgery, but his injuries were too severe for him to survive and he died after his family and friends took part in a hero walk.
An investigation by two Georgia news stations revealed that from the start of 2021 through the end of July, 11 high school football players had died nationwide from football-related causes, some as young as 13 years old.