Autopsy results released Saturday revealed that a popular Chicago high school football player died as a result of a hit he suffered on the field during a Thursday night game.
Andre Smith, a 17-year-old senior at Bogan High School, died from blunt-force head injuries because of the on-field accident, according to the Cook County medical examiner.
Smith was injured during the final play of Bogan's last game against Chicago Vocational High School. Witnesses said they saw him take a hit and that he walked off the field and later collapsed.
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"It was a kick return play," said Jimmy Smith, the announcer at Stagg Stadium. "(Smith) was running and a guy blocked him, hit him pretty good and that was it. He went down and he got back up and walked back to the visitors' side of the field."
After Smith collapsed, the Chicago Fire Department transported him from Stagg Stadium to Advocate Christ Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition. He was breathing at the time, but not conscious, according to fire officials. He was pronounced dead at the hospital the next morning.
"For all of us at Chicago Public Schools, our hearts are heavy and saddened this morning to learn that one of our student athletes at Bogan High School has passed away," CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said in a statement Friday. "CPS grief counselors are on-site at Bogan to provide counseling for our students. We ask that you respect the privacy of the student's family and keep them in your thoughts and prayers."
A flag at Stagg Stadium was seen flying half-staff Friday, and students at Bogan High School said there was a definite sadness gripping the school following Smith's death.
"He just walked around smiling," said Smith's close friend Dasia Smith. "He was nice to talk to and he loved football. That was one of his favorite sports."
Smith also played on the basketball team and ran track his first year of high school. He was hoping to walk on with the football team at Western Illinois next year.
Family members and friends held a vigil Saturday to honor Smith.