September 28, 2019
The organs of a 17-year-old football player who collapsed during a game will be donated to seven people after his family decided to remove him from life support.
From the moment 17-year-old Jacquez Welch collapsed on the football field, his fate had been set in stone. Welch emerged from the game brain dead and after two days on life support, his family decided to take him off.
Welch, a star linebacker at St. Petersburg’s Northeast High School took a hit and collapsed when he was tackled during a game on the night of September 23.
At the hospital, it was discovered that he had a pre-existing brain condition he and his family were not aware of. The condition, known as AVM or arteriovenous malformation is an abnormal formation of the veins making them vulnerable to tears that could easily lead to brain hemorrhage.
“Quez was a giving person. He would give to anyone and everyone if he had it.”
Though it would seem very difficult to accept what happened to Welch, his mother, Marcia Nelson found comfort in knowing that it was out of anyone’s control.
“The doctors told me this would have happened whether he was on the field playing or not,” she told WFTS.
She also told Bay News 9, “It was something he couldn’t control, nobody could control, so it’s keeping me calm and understanding.”
Three days after Welch’s collapse, his family decided to take him off life support and use his organs to help others.
“Quez was a giving person. He would give to anyone and everyone if he had it,” his mother told a congregation of Northeast faculty and students. “He wanted to do this.”
Seven people will reportedly benefit from Welch’s organs.
"I don't want anybody to be scared of sports...It just happened to him at an early age, doing what he loved to do."
Welch, who has a 4.0 GPA had just received a full scholarship from Concordia University in Minnesota prior to his death. His fellow quarterback, Fernando Monroe said he was very excited about it.
His mother was also very proud of Welch, her eldest, for being a role model to his younger siblings.
The day before Welch was removed from life support, his teammates signed his jersey which they framed and carried into the field before their game. Ironically, on the day Welch collapsed on the field, he had just done the same thing for a former player in their school, Marquis Scott who was shot and killed days earlier.
Meanwhile, though her son collapsed during a game, Nelson advised others not to fear sports.
"I don't want anybody to be scared of sports," she said. "It just happened to him at an early age, doing what he loved to do."