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Two More Deaths in Youth Football

Jason Scott

Two youth football players -- one a high school student from Kansas and the other in Ohio who was just 9 years old -- died this week during football activities.

Luke Schemm, a 17-year old player at Wallace County High in Sharon Springs, Kan. Collapsed on the sideline after scoring on a two-point conversion play. He was airlifted to a Denver hospital, where he was declared brain dead. He was taken off life support late yesterday.

Referees reportedly didn’t see Schemm take contact to his head or neck. But David Schemm, Luke’s father, said that Luke had suffered brain trauma, which caused swelling and shut off blood flow.

Schemm was a standout athlete at Wallace County High. He started for four years on the school’s football team, played on a state championship basketball team, and a state ranked high jumper. He had plans to attend Kansas State University in the fall.

Wyatt Barber, the 9-year-old player, collapsed during a routine practice session. A preliminary autopsy revealed that he died of a heart issue.

Barber’s team was having a non-contact practice session when he fell to the ground.

“During the process of stopping and taking a break, the young man collapsed,” Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood told WSAZ. “They started doing CPR on him immediately and contacted 911. When we got there, they were working on Wyatt and trying to get him revived, diligently trying.”

Barber was rushed to the emergency room, but was pronounced dead a short time later.

“To have a death like that is just a terrible thing to see happen,” Wood said. “We are a family here and we’re very closely connected in our community.” 

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