High School Football Player Removed From Life Support After Collapsing During Game

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High School Football Player Removed From Life Support After Collapsing During Game

Jacquez Welch’s organs will be donated to seven people.

Published September 24, 2019

Written by Angela Wilson

A Florida highschool senior who collapsed during a football game after making a tackle has been taken off life support. 

Jacquez Welch was in a coma when he was removed from life support by his mother on Monday, September 23. Seven lives will be saved as Welch’s organs will be donated after he was declared brain dead. 

Welch, a senior linebacker at St. Petersburg Northeast Highschool, completed a tackle during a football game against Osceola on Friday, September 20. The 17-year-old collapsed in the middle of the game. He suffered critical brain bleeding from a pre-existing condition. 

“It was a group tackle,” said his mother, Marcia Nelson to FOX News. “Everybody got up. He got up a little slow and he didn’t get back up.”

The teenager was diagnosed with AVM, or brain arteriovenous malformation, a rare disorder that affects less than one percent of the population. The medical condition is a tangle of abnormal blood vessels that connect arteries and veins in the brain. The arteries are designed to send oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the brain, but with AVM, the veins distributes the oxygen-deprived blood back to the lungs and heart. A brain AVM interrupts this important process, according to the Mayo Clinic

Nelson declared how football was not the reason her son experienced this tragedy. Nelson stated how until that fateful Friday, there was never any indication that her son was anything but healthy, as he had not experienced any symptoms, including headaches or seizures. 

“There’s nothing anyone could have done to prevent this,” said Nelson to WFTS.  “The doctors told me this would have happened whether he was on the field playing or not.”

The football captain, who was a 4.0 student and had recently received a college scholarship from Concordia University last week, was rushed to Bayfront Health by paramedics. 

“Quez was a giving person. He would give to anyone and everyone if he had it,” Nelson stated. “He wanted to do this.”

There is no cure for treating or preventing AVM complications, including hemorrhaging, defined as a release of blood from a broken blood vessel. 

The Vikings, Welch’s team, defeated the Seminole Osceola High School with a 41-0 victory. The team went to visit their captain in the hospital afterwards, even tweeting their support. His teammates signed his jersey, which was framed and brought on the field before one of their games. 

A walk to celebrate the life of Welch took place on Bayfront Medical on Monday evening.

The Welch family launched a GoFundMe account for his final expenses. It has raised over $16,000.

Photo: Cavan Images

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