Farmerville (La.) High School student Jaleel Gipson died Monday morning after being taken off life support after fracturing a vertebrate in his neck at football practice on Thursday.
Principal David Gray said Gipson's condition worsened over the weekend at LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, and doctors declared Gipson brain dead late Saturday or early Sunday.
Gipson, a 17-year-old junior, was kept on life support until his organs were donated.
“Doctors declared that Jaleel was no longer able to initiate a breath on his own,” Gray said. “His family made an unselfish decision to put Jaleel on the organ donor list.”
The organ donation was completed Monday, and Gipson’s body was expected to be returned to Union Parish on Monday.
Gipson was injured Thursday at spring football practice during a tackling drill. Gipson was the ball carrier, and Gray said the experienced fullback and the tackler used correct technique, according to the coaching staff.
Gray said Monday is “a day of grief,” and counselors are at the school. He added that the community has rallied around Gipson and the school.
“We've felt nothing but love from the community,” Gray said. “Many community members reached out to support us.
“I hope our kids heal quickly, and we need everyone's prayers right now.”
Gray said he knew Gipson well, and he will miss his smile most.
“Jaleel's smile can open doors and open hearts,” Gray said.
Farmerville is grieving the second death of a football player since 2010.
Lineman Kebrion Morgan, 15, died after a film session in September 2010. An autopsy later revealed that Morgan had an enlarged heart.