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Commentary by Dick Gallagher

4:53 PM, Oct 1, 2013   |    comments
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When I learned Damon Janes died from a Football injury it was a gut wrenching feeling as no one is prepared to bury a child which is the worst experience any parent can ever endure in their lifetime. The pain is much more severe than any physical pain one has to experience. As soon as you learn about the tragedy, the family, friends, and community are in shock and the trauma and healing process can take months and/ or years.

You no longer can hear their voice, see their smile, hug them, hear their laugh, touch them and tell hem/ her you love them.

Life is not suppose to go through this cycle; children bury parents not vice versa.

Damon's death struck a nerve with most Western New Yorkers since he received the injury while playing football and most people throughout WNY offered their condolences, prayers, and support.

Football is an aggressive game played by 4 million individuals at various levels with only a small percentage suffering a serious and/ or fatal injury. From 2003 thru 2013 there were 25 deaths attributed to playing football.

Today the sport is much safer than years past with highly visible iniatives at all levels to improve the safety of the game.

Recently the board of education, administration coaches and team members all agreed to end the football season for Westfield/ Brocton due to Damon's death.

Their was a different opinion of many who felt the decision was wrong and the season should be continued in his memory.

In my opinion the decision to cancel the season was the right move. These boys ages, 15 thru 18, may have never experienced death in their lifetime. They are in shock, trama, and are heartbroken. It is not like losing a classmate to a disease. They lost Damon's on a football field. How could anyone expect the players to have any enthusiasm or energy. Never mind other students, parents, coaches, and everyone connected with the game to want to play the contest. What about members of the opposing team and how they would feel?

Football needs to be played with intensity, aggressiveness, and with emotion. It would be ludicrious to believe that the players could be ready for any athletic contest.

They now have the time to concentrate on their grief, loss, and receive counseling if necessary.

Damon's death is a tragedy and his spirt will always be with his family, friends, teammates, and the Brocton/ Westfield and Portville Communities.

In looking back at the media coverage, two issues stand out.

The media reported it was a helmet to helmet hit which the autopsy proved was not accurate.

 Very little was written about the impact on the Portville team and the players that were involved in the play when Damon suffered the injury.

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