Superintendent says medical staff ‘fully engaged’ at Warren Hills game after QB dies
Warren Hills Regional High School has canceled its junior varsity game against Summit Monday as the school's community continues to come to grips with its star quarterback's death after being injured in a game Friday night.
Senior Evan Murray, a three-sport athlete and standout student, had left the field after taking a hit shortly before halftime. Friends say he lost and regained consciousness before being taken away in an ambulance, and died later that night at Morristown Medical Center.
In addition to canceling Monday's game, the school has postponed homecoming and Spirit Week activities scheduled for this week, said interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gary R. Bowen. School officials are still deciding whether to postpone the school's homecoming game.
Bowen said he knew Murray took several hits before leaving the game — a teammate has said one, in retrospect, appeared to leave Murray with pain in his side — but he didn't know the particular details of those incidents. Bowen also said he didn't know whether Murray complained of any pain or difficulty, or what protective equipment he would have been wearing.
But the superintendent said he was confident the medical and emergency personnel on hand were prepared to deal with any eventualities.
The school has a team physician and a certified trainer at its games, Bowen said. Two EMS services are on call at the stadium as well, he said.
"I know our medical staff on the sidelines was fully engaged in their duties," Bowen said. "I spoke with the team physician, who told me we had the utmost professionally prepared medical staff and were fully in a state of readiness for any eventuality, any injury that could possibly occur to any player."
Friday's game had been a varsity game against Summit High School.
Bowen said the JV game Monday was postponed to give students time to cope, but the school would decide on a day-by-day basis whether other activities should be affected.
"One of our guiding principles is to try to return the state of the shcool and the community to a state of normalization that we can move on and do so with great sensitivity and compassion to the family," he said.
Dozens of counselors were being made available to students, in addition to the school's normal counseling staff, he said.
LehighValleyLive.com reports Monday a petition has been started to name the school's football field after Murray. It also said that on Sunday, players form the town's Washington Redskins youth football program wore No. 18 decals on their helmets in Murray's honor, and that on Saturday, volunteers from the Washington Fire Department donated proceeds from a beer garden to the Murray family.
Members of the school community in Washington Township and well beyond were preparing to wear blue, the school's signature color, in memory of Murray.
Countless people rallied around the Twitter hashtags #18strong — for Murray's uniform number — and #RIPEvan as efforts to help Murray's family continued to gain support.
A GoFundMe.com fundraiser for Murray's family had collected more than $45,000 as of Monday morning.