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Hawkins flag football player dies of on-field brain injuries

A Texas high school says it took all the necessary precautions. Investigators from the Hawkins Police Department and the local medical examiner’s office claim a 15-year-old high school student’s recent death from brain trauma was a mishap. The boy’s parents are dealing with the death of their child because of a school-sanctioned game.

Reports say the teenager was in gym class, taking part in a 7-on-7 flag football game. It was meant to be a passing drill. It caused a deadly brain injury. Flag football rules mimic the full-contact version of the sport and usually exclude physical blocking. Players do not tackle one another, but injuries can still occur.

The Hawkins ISD student was jumping for a thrown ball at the same time another student was going for it. The boys knocked heads. School officials claim they benched the 15-year-old for the remainder of the game, despite the boy’s objections.

The teenager complained of a headache later the same day and was excused from school. At home, the boy’s symptoms intensified. An ambulance was called. The student was later flown to Dallas Children’s Hospital.

The boy died two days after the flag football game of brain bleeding and a fractured skull. His family said brain injuries ruptured an artery.

School officials said the Hawkins ISD athletic program includes newly-adopted procedures for player head injuries. The superintendent of the high school stated that athletic coaches and teachers were trained and followed a set protocol after the boy was injured.

School administrators have employed grief counsellors to help the boy’s classmates and teachers deal with the teenager’s sudden death. The other boy who bumped his head during the flag-football game was not seriously injured.

Law enforcement and medical investigators concluded that the death was accidental. The boy’s family members may be wondering if their permanent loss will lead to any changes. Would the boy still be alive if the high school’s protocol included stricter rules that would make high school athletics safer?

Source:, “Student dies after being injured during flag football,” Seria Dassing, May 22, 2012

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