A high school football player in Florida who collapsed in the middle of a game has been declared ‘brain dead’ and is being taken off of life support.
Jacquez Welch, a senior and team captain at Northeast High School in St Petersburg, tackled an opposing player during a game on Friday night.
After he didn’t get up, he was rushed to Bayfront Health – six miles away – where doctors discovered he had a pre-existing condition that caused severe bleeding in his brain after a tangle of blood vessels burst.
On Monday, the 17-year-old’s family decided to take him off of life support. His organs will be donated, saving seven lives.
‘Quez was a giving person,’ his mother, Marcia Nelson, told a congregation at Gateway Baptist Church, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
‘He would give to anyone and everyone if he had it. He wanted to do this.’
Jacquez Welch, 17 (pictured), a football captain at Northeast High School in St Petersburg, Florida, collapsed after he tackled an opposing player during a game on Friday night
Paramedics rushed Welch (left and right) to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a brain arteriovenous malformation. AVMs occur when there is an abnormal tangle of arteries and veins that can lead to hemorrhaging
Nelson told WFTS that she was watching the game in the stands when the incident occurred.
She didn’t know the situation was serious until one of his coaches told her to come onto the field. She stressed that it was not football that caused his death.
‘There’s nothing anyone could have done to prevent this,’ Nelson told the station.
‘The doctors told me this would have happened whether he was on the field playing or not…It’s unfair. Why him?’
Welch was diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), which occurs when there is a tangle of blood vessels with abnormal connections between arteries and veins.
Normally, arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the brain, while veins carry oxygen-low blood away from the brain and towards the heart.
But, with AVM, bloods flows very quickly and directly from the arteries to the veins, bypassing normal brain tissue.
This can cause the small blood vessels to dilate over time and potentially burst due to the high pressure of blood flow from the arteries.
The cause of AVMs is unknown, but it believed to occur during fetal development. It can go undetected for years.
Brain AVMs are estimated to occur in less than one percent of the general population, and affect mostly males, according to the American Stroke Association.
Northeast High School won 41-0 and, after the game, the entire team went to visit Welch in the hospital. Pictured: Welch, right, and his team during a pregame ceremony on Friday night presenting the jersey of a player, who was killed, to his family
Welch (left and right) was declared ‘brain dead’ and his family opted to take him off of life support. His organs will be donated, saving at least seven lives
There is no cure and treatment consists of controlling symptoms and preventing complications such as hemorrhaging.
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, every year, around four out of every 100 people with AVM suffer a hemorrhage.
The hemorrhage comes with a 15 to 20 percent risk of stroke or death.
After Northeast won 41-0, the entire team reportedly visited Welch in the ICU.
His coach, Jeremy Frioud, told the Times that Welch has good grades – a 4.0 GPA – and received his first scholarship offer to play football at Concordia College in Minnesota.
He has also organized a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of Welch’s funeral expenses. As of Tuesday morning, more than $14,000 has been raised out of a $25,000 goal.
This is not the first time that Northeast High School has experienced a student’s tragic death.
Just days earlier, former Vikings player, Marquis Scott, was shot and killed while riding his bike. Welch helped present a framed jersey to Scott’s family hours before he collapsed.