New Jersey football player dies after on-field head injury

The player survived in a coma for two weeks before succumbing to his injury

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

LINDEN, N.J. – A New Jersey high school football player died Wednesday after he suffered a head injury during a game on Sept. 9, reports NBC 4.

Xavier McClain was a sophomore at Linden High School, loved by many.

The Linden Tigers were facing off against Woodbridge High School when McClain was hit during the second half of the game. The player was able to get up following the hit but collapsed again.

McClain was taken away in an ambulance, surviving two weeks in a coma before he died.

“He got right back up like he was a strong person, and then fell back down,” said Asia Marshall, McClain’s classmate. “It was just hurting and sad to see someone go so fast, thinking they were gonna go back home to end up in a coma, you know.”

Friends of McClain say he loved the game of football and had a good heart.

“I knew him since elementary school, he was one of my first friends...he was a good person, a very genuine person,” said Jessica Diugrand, McClain’s classmate.

The beloved player is now being remembered by the community, and those who were close to him. His teammates and friends made a tribute to McClain as they entered the field house Thursday, crossing their arms into an “X” for Xavier.

Linden Mayor Derek Armstead says the community will support McClain’s family in any way they can.

About the Author:

Lauren Helkowski joined WSLS 10’s digital team in August 2022, but has held a passion for storytelling long before.