BROCTON, NY - Damon Janes' death after a football injury has many people asking questions out of sheer concern. Damon's life was cut short too soon after doing something he loved to do in life - play football.
There are questions about the specific injury and the play that led to his death. Coaches at both Westfield-Brocton and Portville have reviewed game footage. The superintendent of Portville says he had coaches not associated with either school look at the tape to see if there was a helmet-to-helmet hit. "In the final play there was a group tackle," said Thomas Simon, superintendent of Portville Schools.
The tape is not being released by either school. Simon said "there was a referee within three feet of the play. There was no penalty or even a reaction from the referee on the field after the play," he said.
Gary Swetland has been the head football coach at Portville over 20-years. He watched the game tape over and over again and told 2 On Your Side's Claudine Ewing, "there's nothing out of the ordinary."
But was there a helmet-to-helmet hit involving Janes? "In terms of head-to-head collision, if there was any at all, it was incidental at best. Often when we read or see helmet-to-helmet collision, immediately our thoughts are two players going in the opposite direction at very high speed. Their heads, helmets are the first two things that touch each other, that didn't happen at all," said the coach.