Kansas county comes together to mourn star football player

SHARON SPRINGS, Kansas – A western Kansas community is trying to cope after the sudden death of one of its top high school football players.

The town of Sharon Springs held a vigil Thursday night to remember Luke Schemm.  Luke collapsed during a game earlier in the week in Sharon Springs.

The vigil gave us a look into how the community is coping.

Friends and family gathered at the United Methodist Church Thursday evening to share memories and prayers for Luke, a start athlete who the community says was beloved by everyone.

KSN’s Molly Brewer reports on the prayer service for Luke Schemm

Residents say that this is the third death the small western Kansas community has experienced over the last few days.  Over the coming weeks they plan on rallying together to support one another and get through these hard times.

Luke’s parents had confirmed earlier in the day the teen was brain-dead after he collapsed Tuesday night.  The announcement that he was taken off life support was made by the family’s pastor during a vigil Wednesday night.

Wallace County was playing Otis Bison during an Eight-Man Division 1 game. Luke had scored a touchdown and an extra point before collapsing shortly afterward.

Luke Schemm (photo courtesy KSportsImages.com / Everett J Royer)
Luke Schemm (photo courtesy KSportsImages.com / Everett J Royer)

Luke was transported to a Denver-area hospital. The school’s superintendent initially told KSN that Schemm had died, but later clarified that he was brain-dead. Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, a suburb of Denver, told KSN Wednesday afternoon that Luke is “on life support with no brain function” at the hospital.

During a Wednesday afternoon press conference, Luke’s father spoke to the media. He was surrounded by members of the Wallace County football team.

“Luke is currently on life support, but he has no brain function,” said David Schemm, Luke’s father. “We have come to terms that Luke, our beautiful gift from God, is no longer with us. We have felt the thoughts, prayers of our friends, family, and community. We thank them for their support at this time.”

Luke’s father added that his son was a star basketball player and was ranked in state high jump.

“Luke’s legacy goes far beyond the fields and the courts. An active member in our church and community, Luke took pride in being a member of Big Brothers Big Sisters and a member and club president of 4-H,” Schemm added.

Schemm added that his son held a champion title in 4-H cooking. He said that his son, a senior, decided on Monday that he was going to attend K-State.

From July through Wednesday there have been 11 reported deaths in high school football in the U.S., according to the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The center said seven of those deaths were directly related to a football trauma and four were indirectly related, meaning other health issues contributed to the death.

KSN looks at Tuesday night’s game

Luke Schemm’s father hold a media briefing on the steps of the Colorado hospital where Luke was airlifted Tuesday night.

“We love U #4” is shown on the fence outside the Wallace County school building. (KSN Photo Molly Brewer)



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