Just two weeks before what would have been his first high school football game of the 2018 season, Independence High quarterback Davyne Simpson was found unconscious over the weekend and rushed to a local hospital.
Simpson, a 16-year-old junior, was put into a medically induced coma. In preseason information sent to the Observer, Simpson was listed at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds.
School officials and Patriots football coach Mike Natoli would not comment to the Observer, only asking for prayers.
“Out of respect for the family,” Natoli said via text, “we have no comment. Prayers are much appreciated, however.”
While most area teams kick off the season Friday, Independence has an open date. The Patriots begin their season Aug. 24 at home against Hopewell.
Patriots players and fans started a hashtag on social media, #PrayForFlash, playing off of Simpson’s nickname. An Independence player also reached out to Christian rapper Joey Vantes, who offered a post on Instagram to more than 11,000 followers.
“I was reached out to recently by a player, a teammate and a coach,” Vantes said, “of a young man by the name of Davyne Simpson, 16 years old, star quarterback at Independence High School. ... Doctors fear that when they take him out of the coma that he’s either going to have a lot of brain damage or could potentially lose his life. I get little choked up about it. ... But I wanted to bring this to you guys because I believe in corporate prayer, that by banding together and believing God, we serve a God who is the great physician. Let’s pray, man, and see the miracle hand of God move.”
Players and parents from other teams have been offering up support for Simpson.