HOMER, NY (WSYR-TV) - Police now know what caused 16-year old Ridge Barden to collapse on the field at a Friday night game in Homer. He later died at the hospital.
According to police, autopsy results show Barden died of bleeding in the brain, due to blunt force trauma as the result of a football injury.
The high school junior was a member of the varsity team in Phoenix.
Grief counseling is being offered to students and staff in Phoenix and Homer this weekend.
The Executive Director of Section III Athletics, John Rathbun, says coaches and student athletes are very well educated about concussions and head injuries, but nothing could have prepared anyone for what happened on Friday.
"I don't think anyone could have ever, ever, ever seen this coming. It's just very sad that something like this does happen," said Rathbun. "Accidents do happen. You know, you think you're prepared for everything and I think our coaches do a very good job of being aggressive for that next step but in a situation like this, you just never know."
To ensure the safety of student athletes, sports equipment is checked on a yearly basic and either refurbished or replaced.
He said as far as head injuries go, it is up to each district to come up with its own guidelines. Section III only mandates that students wait seven days before returning to play.
Funeral arrangements for Barden have also been finalized:
Calling hours will take place Wednesday from 4p.m. to 7p.m. at Foster Funeral Home on Fay Street in Fulton.
A service will be held at 10a.m. Thursday at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church also in Fulton.
Contributions in memory of Ridge Barden can be made to the Phoenix Football Boosters:
116 Volney Street, Phoenix, New York 13135.
Mother of Phoenix Football player to teams: "Don't feel guilty"
PHOENIX, NY (WSYR-TV) - 16-year-old Phoenix High School football player Ridge Barden died Friday after suffering a head injury in a game against Homer High School.
On Saturday, Barden’s mother Jacqueline gave us a message to pass along to the players on both teams. She said she does not want anyone to feel the burden of guilt.
"He just would not want those people to think that it was their fault. It was just an accident. Everything that Ridge did, he did with full gust. I'd say just take that attitude with you,” said Jacqueline Barden.
An autopsy was completed Saturday. Results have not yet been announced. Jacqueline Barden said Ridge did not have any pre-existing conditions. Homer Police believe his death is the result of injuries during the game.
Jacqueline also gave us some insight into her son’s life on Saturday.
She said Ridge was a life-long sports lover. He signed up for little league as soon as he could.
Over the years he grew to an intimidating 230 pounds.
He was described as a beast on the football circuit and a gentle giant off the field. To his mom, he'll always just be her little boy.
"It still is shocking. He's with us and he's gone,” said Jacqueline Barden.
Snapshots from his 16th birthday last month show a kid with dreams for the future, maybe becoming an engineer someday.
Instead, his # 70 jersey was surrounded by friends when he collapsed after the final play of his short life in a game that he loved.
Dozens of shocked teammates and neighbors turned to memorial pages online to share grief and support.
"It helps to know that even though there is a lot of bad out there, there is still good, that people do still care about their neighbors,” said Jacqueline Barden.
Barden's father was too emotional to speak but offered us this statement: "I have no words right now. My world has been devastated. But, I want to say thank-you to all of you who have written me and are sending your prayers to me. October 14th will go down as the worst day of my life. I don't know what I'm going to do without you Ridge. I love you so much and cannot even grasp that you are not here."
HOMER, NY (WSYR-TV) - The Homer community is also reeling from the tragic death of Phoenix High School football player Ridge Barden.
It was on the Homer High School football field where Barden suffered a head injury during Friday night's game. He was rushed to the hospital but would not survive.
Police in Homer continue their investigation Saturday while the school district takes care of players and coaches who watched everything unfold.
Within two minutes of his collapse, safety teams rushed in to help Barden. He was carried from the field on a stretcher.
Homer High School opened its doors by 8a.m. Saturday morning, with grief counselors available to anyone who needed to talk.
The district is cooperating with Homer Police, which happened to be on the scene Friday for routine crowd control at the game.
An officer says they will make sure the proper safety equipment and procedures were used as part of their investigation.
As of now, police and school officials say there is no early indication of wrongdoing and they offered words of support to Barden's teammates and friends.
"The loss of a young one is devastating to anyone who is involved and we just grieve with the Phoenix school community and can't imagine what they are going through," said Homer School Superintendent Nancy Ruscio.
"This has got to be very heartbreaking for them. This is quite a tragedy. Especially during a sports event to have something like this happen. We want to offer our condolensces to them. We're very sorry that this happened," said Homer Police Officer Donald Warner.
Police tell us the response time was quick and it does not appear that emergency responders could have done anything differently.
The family did say it thinks this was simply an accident.
Autopsy results are expected Saturday night.
(PHOENIX, NY ) WSYR-TV - The father of Ridge Barden spoke with NewsChannel 9, remembering the varsity player who passed away after suffering head injuries during a Friday night football game.
Saturday morning, he issued this statement:
"I have no words right now, my world has been devastated. But I want to say thank you to all of you that have written me and are sending your prayers to me. October 14th will go down as the worst day of my life. I don't know what I'm going to do without you Ridge, I love you so much, and cannot even grasp that you are not here."
His two older sisters and mother gave this statement to NewsChannel 9:
"First of all, Ridge's two sisters....have suffered a loss words cannot describe. We loved Ridge with all our hearts and are so grateful to have had Ridge in our lives. He impacted us in many ways, not the least was his gentle side and sense of humor. Ridge wil be missed forever - we love you baby!! Second of all, we would like to thank everyone who has offered their support, condolences and prayers."
Barden, who was 16-years old and a junior, suffered the injuries during the third quarter of the game in Homer. Police say he was unconscious when he was carried off the field on a stretcher. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where he later died.
Police say an autopsy is being performed Saturday.
Counseling is being offered Saturday to students and staff in the Phoenix and Homer School Districts.
Phoenix Superintendent Judy Belfield posted this message on the district's website Saturday morning:
During the third quarter of last evening's football game at Homer CSD, one of our football players was injured. He suffered a head injury, was transported to the hospital and later died from that injury. The name of the player is being withheld pending notification to all of the relatives.
This is a devastating loss for our community. Our deepest sympathy goes out to the family, players and coaches. JCB auditorium will be open for counseling this morning for students and staff from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Counseling will also be available for students on Monday.
Updates will be posted as new information becomes available.
The Homer School District has posted this statement on their website:
The Homer School Community is deeply saddened and shares in the grief of the Phoenix School Community in the death of one of their varsity football players Friday night. The Phoenix Firebirds player died after being transported to the hospital during Friday evening's game at Homer.
District counselors and other staff will be available Saturday morning from 8:00 - 11:00 A.M. in the High School Cafeteria to meet with students and parents who desire support. In addition, counselors and staff will be meeting with Homer Sports Teams prior to their Saturday scheduled events.
PSATs scheduled for Saturday morning will continue. Parents should discuss with their child if he/she should test as planned.
Our hearts go out to the Phoenix student's family and friends.
Please call 749-1208 should you have questions.
We will have the latest on our 6 o'clock news on 9.2 and at 11 on NewsChannel 9.