The death of Chicago high school football player Andre Smith was attributed to accidental blunt force trauma to the head, according to the autopsy performed by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
Smith, 17, collapsed after the final play of Thursday night’s Bogan game Chicago Vocational and died Friday morning.
The play was a kickoff return and Smith took a hit but got back up and walked to the sideline. When the paramedic at the game examined him, the paramedic called for an ambulance.
Smith’s death is the seventh death of a high school football player since September and the sixth to occur in the aftermath of a game; the other death was after a player collapsed in practice.
According to the Illinois High School Association, Smith’s death is the first in the state since 2012 when a player from Hall High in Spring Valley died from an enlarged heart.
“High school football programs all across the state are thinking of Andre and the Bengals community tonight,” a Saturday night statement from the IHSA read. “As anyone who has participated in athletics knows, there is a risk of injury any time a player steps on the field of play. Football, in particular, has been under the microscope over the last decade, and organizations at all levels of play, including high school, have been taking aggressive steps to try and reduce injury over time.”
About 100 people showed up for a student-organized vigil Saturday night for Smith at Rich Central High School’s football field. Smith had attended Rich Central until last year when he transferred to Bogan and has been living with a family friend in Chicago.
“You know, he was a brother to us,” Brandon Johnson, an 18-year-old Rich Central grad, said during the vigil, according to The Chicago Tribune. “It’s hard to see him go.”
“You know, he was a brother to us,” Brandon Johnson, an 18-year-old Rich Central grad, said during the vigil. “It’s hard to see him go.”