Two youth football players died this week in Kansas and Ohio — one a high school senior with plans to head to college next fall, and the other just 9 years old.
The deaths of Luke Schemm, 17, and Wyatt Barber make at least nine youths across the country who have died in football incidents since early September.
Schemm scored “back-to-back touchdowns” in a playoff game Tuesday night for his Wallace County High School team. On the final play, he was tackled, ran to the sidelines and collapsed, his father, David Schemm, said Wednesday.
Schemm suffered a traumatic brain injury, “causing it to swell and shut off blood flow to the brain,” his father wrote in a Facebook post.
Just Monday, Luke Schemm shared with his family where he had decided to attend college.
“There was a lot of excitement and anticipation around where Luke would go to college,” his father recounted. “He shared with us that he decided to join his brother Clay at Kansas State University next fall.”
David Schemm was traveling for meetings Tuesday and was unable to make the playoff game in person, but was able to stream it.
“The last thing I did to him before I left … and I still give my boys when I see them … is a kiss on the forehead and I tell them ‘I love them’ before they go to bed, and I ask every parent out there to do the same to their children, too.”
Routine Football Practice Turns Tragic
On Monday, 9-year-old Wyatt was running sprints with his youth football team in Pomeroy, Ohio.
“During the process of stopping and taking a break, the young man collapsed, and [coaches] started doing CPR on him immediately, and contacted 911,” Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood told CNN affiliate WSAZ.
Wyatt, who was in third grade, was taken to the hospital, where he died.
“Wyatt loved what he was doing and being a part of the Big Bend football program. To have a death like that is a terrible thing to see happen,” Wood said.
A preliminary autopsy report says his death was the result of an “abnormal left main coronary artery” in the heart, the Montgomery County Coroner’s office said.
The superintendent of Eastern Local School District, where Wyatt attended school, said “the staff, students, and community … would like to express our sincere condolences to the family during this very unfortunate time.”