A high school football player in Florida is fighting for his life after he collapsed in the middle of a game.
Jacquez Welch, a senior and team captain at Northeast High School in St Petersburg, was on the field playing against Osceola High School on Friday night.
Welch and his teammates tackled an opposing player, but he was the only one that didn’t get up, reported WFTS.
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.
The 17-year-old is now on life support and his medical team says they’re unsure if he will recover.
It comes just weeks after another player on Northeast’s football team was shot and killed while riding his bike.
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
Welch’s mother, Marcia 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.
‘There’s nothing anyone could have done to prevent this,’ she 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,
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) is currently on life support in the ICU and it is unclear if he will recover. He recently received his football scholarship offer from Concordia College in Minnesota
There is no cure and treatment consists of controlling symptoms and preventing complications such as hemorrhaging.
After Northeast won 41-0, the entire team reportedly visited Welch in the ICU.
‘Jacquez is such an incredible kid,’ his coach, Jeremy Frioud, told the Tampa Bay Times. ‘He does everything right. Everyone is praying for him. He needs a miracle.’
Frioud told the newspaper that Welch has good grades – a 4.0 GPA – and received his first scholarship offer to play football at Concordia College in Minnesota.
The coach has also organized a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of Welch’s medical bills.
As of Monday afternoon, more than $7,000 has been raised out of a $10,000 goal.