Kansas football player brain dead after collapsing

Posted at 6:44 PM, Nov 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-04 20:20:36-05

SHARON SPRINGS, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas high school football player has been declared brain-dead at a Colorado hospital after collapsing on the sideline during a state playoff game Tuesday night.

Luke Schemm had just scored the extra point after a touchdown when the 17-year-old ran to the sidelines and collapsed, his father, David Schemm, said at a news conference Wednesday at Swedish Medical Center in the Denver suburb of Englewood.

"Luke, our beautiful gift from God, is no longer with us," Schemm said.

Hospital spokeswoman Nicole Williams told The Associated Press that Luke is "being kept on life support so family and friends can pay their respects."

She said he had been declared brain dead and would die when life support is withdrawn. She didn't know when that would happen.

"The family is still determining that timeline," Williams said. She added that the family is not publicly discussing plans for organ donation.

Brian McVay, superintendent and principal of Wallace County schools, said he didn't know why Luke collapsed during the Eight-Man Division II game at Wallace County High in Sharon Springs, Kansas.

"The team was gathered on the sidelines getting ready to go for the kick. Before they even left the sideline, he just collapsed," McVay said. "But as far as why, I haven't had time to track that down."

He said Schemm was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, then flown to the hospital in Colorado, about 220 miles west of Sharon Springs.

Gary Musselman, executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, said game officials didn't see Luke sustain any head or neck contact during the game.

Asked by a reporter whether he thought Luke's team should still play in Saturday's quarterfinal playoff game against Ingalls, Schemm indicated that the players should push through their grief and compete.

"Luke gave his all on the field," he said. "He lived his life with a passion, and that's what we want them to do."

From July through Wednesday there have been 11 reported deaths in high school football in the U.S., according to the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The center said seven of those deaths were directly related to a football trauma and four were indirectly related, meaning other health issues contributed to the death.