A student at Bogan High School became the seventh high school football player, nationwide, to die this year.
Andre Smith was a 17-year-old football player for Bogan High School. During a game against Chicago Vocational High School on Thursday night, he took a bad hit during the final play. At the time, no one knew just how bad that hit was.
An announcer from Stagg Stadium, Jimmy Smith, explained what he saw to NBC.
“It was a kick return play. (Smith) was running and a guy blocked him, hit him pretty good and that was it. He went down and he got back up and walked back to the visitors’ side of the field.”
Spectators told Andre’s father that Andre was able to walk and talk for a while after that last hit. However, soon after he was settled on the bench, the high school student began complaining about a headache. Eventually, he collapsed.
The Chicago Fire Department was the first on scene and immediately took Smith to Advocate Christ Medical Center where the high school senior was listed to be in critical condition. He fought for his life, but by just after 6 a.m. on Friday, he was pronounced dead.
“He never regained consciousness,” Andre’s step-father, Dwayne Smith, said.
Chicago Public School officials released a statement on the incident.
“For all of us at Chicago Public Schools, our hearts are heavy and saddened this morning to learn that one of our student athletes at Bogan High School has passed away. Chicago Public School grief counselors are on-site at Bogan to provide counseling for our students. We ask that you respect the privacy of the student’s family and keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”
Andre Smith’s family and friends had nothing but good memories to share about him.
“He loved playing football, that was his sport,” Chris Smith, one of the high school player’s brothers, told the Chicago Tribune. “He wanted to go to college and play football.”
According to Chris, Andre attended Rich Central High School until roughly a year ago when he moved in with a family friend in order to transfer to Bogan High School.
“When I got here, he was still breathing, you know. So, I guess that kind of gave me a sign of hope that everything was going to be OK with him,” Erick Smith, another of Andre’s brothers, told ABC. “I ain’t know what to do. It just killed everything inside of me.”
“He just walked around smiling,” Dasia Smith, a close friend of Andre’s, said. “He was nice to talk to and he loved football. That was one of his favorite sports.”
An autopsy was conducted Saturday that revealed the cause of death was blunt force trauma. In fact, the high school student’s death was ruled a direct result of the final hit he took in Thursday night’s game.
As the seventh death to occur due to the victim’s participation in high school football, Andre Smith’s death has caused more debates to spring up about whether or not football should continue to be played in high school.
Andre Smith was wearing all necessary football gear when he sustained the trauma that killed him. That fact makes opponents of high school football wary of just how much schools are able to protect students that play the game.
Despite the arguments for and against high school football, Andre Smith was a fan of the sport and his death has left a hole in the lives of many. Friends, family and students got together on Saturday and held a candlelight vigil for him.
Do you think high school football is too dangerous?
[Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images]