Phoenix school officials are speaking out after the death of Ridge Barden a high school football player who died unexpectedly during a game with Homer High School Friday night.
School Superintendent Judith Belfield tells CNYcentral's Jim Kenyon, "We are all deeply saddened. He was a terrific kid, we'll have such a void in our community." She described Barden as a straight 'A' student who is very dedicated. The superintendent says the district has provided counselors to friends and classmates of Barden. Belfield says at one point Monday morning, 70 students were in study hall seeking counseling.
Football coach Jeff Charles said he spent much of his weekend reviewing films of the game in which Barden died. "It came down to a simple play. There was really no major collision, nothing drastic that I could see," Charles said. The coach said after reviewing the film he is more confused and perplexed than ever.
The Cortland County Coroner determined that Barden died of a, "massive subdural hematoma," a collection of blood on the brain which was consistent with helmet to helmet contact.
High School Principal Greg Molloy said a number of students and friends are grieving today. "This has put a different perspective on life for everybody," said Molloy.
Coach Charles says the team decided not to play its last game of the year this Friday. The team is considering taking a bus to Homer High School's final game to show support for them this weekend.