For Tampa Northeast High School, last Friday night's game against Osceola was definitely an emotional one. What started as a high school tribute to honor teammate Marquis Scott, who was shot and killed a few days ago, suddenly added a new nightmare for another Vikings family.
During the 41-0 victory, Northeast senior playmaker Jacquez Welch scored on a 60-yard touchdown run and returned to the field to play defense on the very next series. Little did anyone know what was going to happen next in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Welch made a tackle, and then didn't get up. The paramedics rushed over to his side, according to the Tampa Bay Times, and now he is in a fight for his life. The Vikings team captain was on life support in the ICU after medical officials discovered he had severe bleeding on the brain as part of a pre-existing condition.
The bad news kept coming for the Florida high school football team. On Monday night, Welch was taken off life support, according to the paper.
Welch, a 17-year-old football captain, was rushed to nearby Bayfront Health, where doctors found he had a condition called arteriovenous malformation. AVM is "a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain," according to Mayo Clinic.
Marcia Nelson, Welch's mother, said his organs will be donated. According to the Tampa Bay Times, doctors said seven lives would be saved.
"Quez was a giving person. He would give to anyone and everyone if he had it," Nelson said. "He wanted to do this."
The high school football game Friday night definitely put so much into perspective. Welch had a 4.0 GPA and was ready to go off to college next year. He had just picked up his first college football offer from Concordia University, too.
Then, everything changed for the high school football player and his family in one play. An unknown brain condition left Welch brain dead.
Northeast football coach Jeremy Frioud, who called Welch "an incredible kid," gave a touching quote to the Tampa Bay Times. Here is an excerpt:
The school plans to set up a $5,000 scholarship in Welch's honor. Frioud said each season his players will be required to write a sentence that best exemplifies Welch. The words will be displayed on a wall in the locker room, where Welch's framed jersey will hang. The player who best embodies those traits will be awarded the scholarship.
Frioud said the team is trying to focus on how lucky they were to know Welch.
"He left this world doing what he loved more than anything else," Frioud said. "And that needs to be remembered and that needs to be honored. ... If he could have picked his ending, this would have been his ending."
A GoFundMe account was set up by one of Welch's coaches. Over $15,000 worth of donations were given by Tuesday morning.
Enjoy all things sports?
Don't miss a story! Sign up for daily stories delivered to your inbox.