A senior football captain at the Northeast High School in St. Petersburg, Florida, was brain dead after collapsing during a football game Friday night, Sept. 20, 2019.
Marcia Nelson said the family is working on making her 17-year-old son, Jacquez Welch, an organ donor to seven people. The family planned to take Jacquez off life support Monday, Sept. 23, the night after an honor walk at 10 p.m. at Bayfront Hospital, WFTS revealed.
Just pray pic.twitter.com/UyEk7REDdZ
— Northeast Football (@NEHI_Football) September 22, 2019
Nelson said her son was a giving person and he would be proud that his organs will be used to save other lives.
Nelson said football was his passion. Jacquez had a 4.0 GPA and just received a full-ride scholarship to Concordia University.
During a game against Osceola that night, Jacquez was hit and didn’t get up from the field after a tackle, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Paramedics immediately took Welch to Bayfront Health, where it was found he had severe bleeding on the brain from a pre-existing condition that no one knew about.
They said Jacquez was born with arteriovenous malformation, also known as AVM. It’s an abnormal connection between the arteries and veins in the brain.
Nelson said her son’s collapse had nothing to do with the sport. She said, “It just happened to him at an early age, doing what he loved to do.”
“I am content. This is not anything I could control,” Nelson said calmly.
Neurosurgeon Kirk Jobe at Bayfront Hospital in St. Pete said just 10 out of 100,000 people have the arteriovenous malformation condition. It is often considered a “silent” condition because it doesn’t have any signs or symptoms for many people until someone has blood vessels rupture in their brain.
Doctors said there was no way to prevent it. No way to predict it. It wouldn’t have mattered if Jacquez was playing football or eating breakfast on a Saturday morning. Jobe said this could have happened to him at any time.
“It literally is a ticking time bomb in the head and there is no way to predict when this will happen nor who is walking around with this,” Jobe explained.