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Family, community say goodbye to Tyler Christman, who dies after “hero walk”

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 8:22 AM EDT
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CARTHAGE, New York (WWNY) - The family of Tyler Christman took to social media Tuesday to pay tribute to the Carthage junior varsity football player who suffered a serious head injury in a game over the weekend and died Tuesday afternoon.

In a Facebook post, Christman’s father, Jason, wrote, “We all prayed for a miracle to happen for you to be saved. Sadly, the damage was just too much.” See his full Facebook post below.

Tuesday afternoon, Tyler was on life support and his family took part in what’s known as a hero walk, a ceremonial event to honor a patient before an organ donation.

Upstate Medical University confirmed Tyler passed away afterward.

Tyler Christman was a freshman at Carthage Central School. He suffered a head injury during a game against West Genesee on Saturday.

The school district’s athletic director, Jason Brown, and football coach, Joe Sech, issued a joint statement Tuesday afternoon: “Tyler was an amazing young athlete and participated on many of our athletic teams at Carthage Central. His ability to be an outstanding teammate and his infectious personality will be greatly missed by all that knew him. Words cannot describe how heartbroken we all are for the entire Christman family. Tyler, and all of the Chrstman’s have been a very big part of the Carthage Football family for years. Our sincerest condolences go out to their entire family.”

Jennifer Premo, superintendent of the Carthage Central School District, said the district “will continue to provide counseling support and services for our staff and students in the days and weeks ahead. Resources for families, students, and staff are posted on the District website.”

Support for the 14-year-old and his family has been widespread. People from across the north country wore Comets’ red in his honor Monday and a rally drew first responders from across the area to flash their lights into the night sky.

The Evans Mills Raceway, where Tyler competed every weekend, will hold a candlelight vigil Tuesday evening.

“Just to share in the incredible sorrow of losing Tyler,” said Peggy Gill, owner, Evans Mills Raceway.

Tyler was part of the Evans Mills Raceway family, racing there on Saturdays with his father and brother. Gill’s husband spray painted Tyler’s number 27 on the infield to get ready for the vigil.

“We felt that it was important for the community to come together, have an opportunity to grieve, and to hug, and to tell stories,” said Gill.

Gill says about 20 local fire departments expressed interest in being there. It starts at 7 p.m. and all are welcome to attend.

In Carthage, the VFW displayed a message of support, as did the Carthage Fire Department.

“You wish you could do more, but just anything we can do to show support to the family, just so they know we’re here thinking of them,” said Cole Pacella, assistant chief, Carthage Fire Department.

Down the road from the high school, the local Ford dealership lined up five red cars at the front of the lot.

“We brought all the red cars up just to show unity and our love for the Christman family,” said Joe Archer, Caskinette Ford.

The support goes beyond Carthage. At West Genesee High School in Camillus, students and athletes raised more than $3,000 for the Christman family and it’ll go to a memorial scholarship in Tyler’s name.

“Our handsome, confident, outgoing, funny, loveable, helpful, athletic, fearless and always quick-witted child will always be remembered by anyone who got the privilege of meeting him,” Tyler’s father wrote.

His full Facebook post is below.

Here’s the text of Jason Christman’s post:

As your parents we are the most blessed people to have been front row to witness your fearless exploration of life. Full send!

Ty has always strived to be good at everything he does. Our handsome, confident, outgoing, funny, loveable, helpful, athletic, fearless and always quick witted child will always be remembered by anyone who got the privilege of meeting him. We love you for being you. We will FOREVER be grateful to be your mom and dad and we will always be your number one fans. There are no words to express how much we admire and love you.

You have experienced and done more in your 14 short years than most do in a lifetime. You have always been a “WATCH ME” kind of kid. And boy have we always loved watching you. Even though you made our hearts pound out of our chests at certain times. We loved watching you around your friends and teammates. You have a gravity that seems to pull people in with the way that you talked to & treated people. We have met so many great families because of you.

We always knew you were meant to stand out. This is not the way we envisioned it, but this is what we have been dealt. We all prayed for a miracle to happen for you to be saved. Sadly the damage was just too much. You will always be our hero and soon you will be a hero to the people that recieve your life saving Organ donations and a hero to all the family members who have spent many sleepless nights praying for their miracle. YOU will be that miracle. You will live on as such a wonderful gift of love and life.

As parents we are very lucky to have our other two sons who are equally as special and precious to us. Zach and Dylan continue to make our lives purposeful and worth living. They are amazing young men that have already and will continue to do great things. Tyler loved his brothers and that love will help carry them through their lives. Together we will be strong and we will all make Tyler proud as he watches over us. Our family has felt such love from family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and strangers. Our family appreciates all the thoughts, prayers and support. We know he felt all the love being sent his way. Our Tyler was and forever will be loved.

There are not too many people that can say they have lived like Tyler.... Get up, get outside, go fast, go hard, maybe find some mud or a freshly groomed snowmobile trail, catch some slobs aka big bass, be a good friend, a good teammate, student & smack talk like there is no tomorrow. LIVE LIFE AT 110% or FULL THROTTLE which ever is MORE. We will try to make you proud. We will try to not let this break us. You have been such a huge part of our focus and love since you were born. You truly took advantage of every opportunity to experience life and to “Just send it!” You lived the real life. We will be forever grateful for who you were to our world. You were made from love. God gave you to us for such a short time but you didn’t waste a second of it.

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