Two weeks after Warren Hills Regional (Washington, N.J.) senior quarterback Evan Murray died due to an on-field injury, another New Jersey high school football stadium was silenced for 12 minutes as injured New Brunswick senior running back Kyshaun Jackson lay motionless on the field Friday night.
While blocking for Pittsburgh-bound teammate Maurice Ffrench in the third quarter, Jackson suffered the injury that had coaches and trainers rushing to steady his head until an ambulance arrived 10 minutes later, according to NJ Advanced Media. While EMTs carted Jackson off in a stretcher to rush him to a nearby hospital, he gave the hushed crowd hope for the best by offering a thumbs up.
“They say he got caught in a block and twisted up a little bit. They are taking him to the hospital more for precautionary reasons, to make sure there wasn’t anything broken,” New Brunswick head coach Don Sofilkanich said. “He gave the thumbs up, he was able to move, so we are going to check it out later at the hospital … just to get an X-Ray and stuff like that.”
With the memory of Murray surely on everyone’s mind watching prep football in the New Jersey area, the community will wait on Jackson’s diagnosis with bated breath. Ironically, New Jersey native Eric LeGrand, who suffered a severe spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the neck down while playing for Rutgers in 2010, was in attendance for Friday’s New Brunswick-Woodbridge game.
NJ Advanced Media’s Chris Faytok caught up with LeGrand on the sideline:
“I didn’t really get to see the play, I just saw him down on the ground afterwards. And as time was going on I could tell it was serious,” LeGrand said. “As the medical staff finally came over, you could tell that the fans were a little agitated about how long it took them to get over there. I guess maybe they weren’t prepared at that time, but I am glad that they did get him off the field and hopefully they stabilized his neck and my prayers are with him. Hopefully he’ll be OK. He gave a thumbs-up to the crowd that made everyone cheer, and that is always great to see. Hopefully we see him playing out here next week.”
Jackson’s injury hushed a New Brunswick crowd that had been raucously celebrating a 32-20 win, which featured 401 all-purpose yards from Ffrench and improved the team’s record to 5-0. But the town’s focus now lies elsewhere, as everyone awaits what we all hope is good news for Jackson.