EUCLID, Ohio (UPI) — An Ohio high school football player’s death has officially been ruled as game related after he suffered an accidental blow to the abdomen, an official said Tuesday.
Andre Jackson, 17, can be seen in a video of the Friday game between his Euclid High School team and Solon High School, in which he appears to be accidentally kicked by a member of the opposing team as he tries to retrieve the ball after a kickoff. Jackson died Sunday.
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner ruled Jackson’s death as peritonitis or inflammation of the lining of his abdominal cavity. The cause was a laceration in the small bowel most likely from the kick.
Jackson’s coach Jeff Rotsky said the play was “completely normal” and the school district said Jackson walked off the field at the time.
He did later go to the hospital but was released.
“It was a pooch kick,” Rotsky said. “He was going for the ball, and their guys were going for the ball, and I think he got kicked or kneed.”
In a statement, the school described Jackson as “a hardworking student-athlete that brought smiles to all those with whom he came in contact.”
Solon High School also issued a statement that players, students and staff “sends prayers and thoughts of comfort to Andre’s family, friends, teammates, coaches as well as the Euclid High School and Euclid communities.”
With the video showing which players were involved in the injury that eventually resulted in Jackson’s death, Solon added that “Counselors will be available this week for our Solon students who want to talk or need additional support.”
Rotsky called Jackson “irreplaceable,” and said “there will never be a smile like Andre Jackson’s. No matter how much you asked him to do, he would do it for you. That’s the type of young man we unfortunately lost today.”