Parents, community mourn Linden HS football player who died from on-field brain injury
The parents of a Linden High School football player who died from an injury he sustained on the field are now preparing to bury their son.
Students placed balloons, flowers and candles outside of Tiger Stadium to honor Xavier McClain. The 16-year-old was hit on the field two weeks ago and suffered a brain injury.
“He loved the game, but this is not what I wanted for my son. A 16-year-old is being buried over trauma to the brain,” says mother Lisa McClain.
Lisa and Xavier’s father Normal McClain are now planning a funeral. The teen was on life support for nearly two weeks. He died on Wednesday.
“I’m picking a plot for my son,” says Lisa.
Xavier’s teammates are now wearing armbands that say “E4X”, which means “Everything for Xavier.”
Teammate Elijah Gonzalez says he will dedicate games to his fallen teammate.
“I’m playing for him. For real, for real. I want him to be proud of me. I want to turn up so he can be proud of me watching over me. Watching over the team,” Gonzalez says.
While the school community remembers Xavier, the McClains are now making sure their son has a proper burial.
“We just have to remember him for the good things we did, and just everybody who loved him. We appreciate it,” says Normal McClain. “We’re just going to do the right thing right now and give him the burial that we’re supposed to do.”
The Linden team was supposed to play Perth Amboy on Friday, but the game was moved to Saturday to give the team time to grieve. Xavier will be honored at that game.
Xavier’s parents say that they probably won’t attend any other games because it will be too hard.