Metro

New Jersey HS football player dies after suffering head injury during game

A standout New Jersey high school football player died Wednesday as a result of an apparent traumatic brain injury suffered during a game two weeks ago, officials said.

The tragic death of Linden High School sophomore Xavier McClain, 16, was announced by Linden Mayor Derek Armstead, a close friend of the McClain family.

Xavier was injured during a Sept. 9 game against Woodbridge, taking a brutal hit as he returned a kickoff to start the second half, sources familiar with the incident told NJ.com.

Game footage shows an ambulance pull up on the sidelines after the crushing hit, the outlet reported.

McClain was in a coma for nearly two weeks at University Hospital, according to Armstead, who was at the game, News12 reported.

The head injury that McClain sustained was two weeks prior to his death.
Instagram / derekarmstead

“Together we prayed for a miracle and hoped for a different outcome. I trust that God knows better,” Armstead wrote in a social media post. 

“With your prayers, Xavier fought a good fight. In the end, he succumbed to the injuries that he sustained a couple weeks ago while playing football during the LHS Tigers’ game vs Woodbridge.”

“This news hurts because I have known his parents, Lisa and Norm, for years, Xavier and Andres, their two sons, since they were little boys,” Armstead continued. “Tragically their worst fear came true.”

Xavier McClain was a budding star on the Linden High School Tigers team.
INSTAGRAM-derekarmstead

Linden School District staff learned of Xavier’s death on Thursday morning in an email from the superintendent, according to NJ.com.

Xavier was one of only a select few sophomores who earned a starting time on the school’s varsity squad, and even played at times last year as a freshman, the outlet reported.