Arizona HS football player dies from traumatic brain injury

A high school football player died Monday night in a Phoenix hospital after he suffered a serious head injury in a playoff game this past Saturday.

Charles Youvella, a running back from Hopi High School (Keams Canyon, AZ), sustained the head injury in the fourth quarter when, after catching a pass, was tackled to the ground. Officials said the tackle was fairly routine, although the back of his head hit the ground hard, according to USAToday.

Youvella got up and played two more plays before he collapsed on the field. He was conscious and talking as he was being rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, but he eventually deteriorated into critical condition.

He died Monday night alongside his family. His father Wallace, a member of the Arizona Interscholastic Association, was there as well.

The AIA will reportedly start an account in his name and accept donations to help the family pay for the bills. 

Hopi was facing off against Arizona Lutheran in the first round of the Division V playoffs, and Youvella’s team eventually lost 60-6. Youvella scored the team’s only touchdown on a 65-yard reception. 

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