Xavier McClain, 16, who played for Linden High School, succumbed to a severe head injury that initially took place during a September 9 game against Woodbridge, according to Linden Mayor Derek Armstead.
“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,” Armstead added. “My wife and I spend time in their home and our children played together. Tragically, their worst fear came true.”
McClain took a major hit during the second half of Linden’s home game against Woodbridge and was briefly able to get back on his feet before collapsing again, NBC 4 New York reports.
The 16-year-old was transported via ambulance to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
“He got right back up like he was a strong person, and then fell back down,” classmate Asia Marshall told NBC 4 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.”
Linden High School football’s Twitter account posted “Rest In Peace Xavier McClain,” along with a tribute graphic for the teenager, on Thursday (September 23).
Armstead said the community would come together to support McClain’s family in the wake of his death.