Grief counselors at Princeton High School following death of football player

Princeton Team holds up Woods' jersey
Princeton Team holds up Woods' jersey

By Rontina McCann – bio | email

SHARONVILLE (FOX 19) - Grief counselors are at Princeton High School Monday following the death of a football player over the weekend.

Elbert Jovante "Joe" Woods, 16, died Saturday after being on life support since Wednesday.

Woods, a junior, was a member of the Princeton High School football and track teams, and carried a 3.8 GPA.

Athletic Director Scott Kaufman says Woods suffered an asthma attack at his home Wednesday. During a press conference Saturday night, Kaufman says Woods went 30 minutes without oxygen due to the asthma attack. That lack of oxygen caused swelling in his brain, which led to the damage and no brain activity. That is when he was put on a ventilator.

Saturday afternoon and evening tests were performed and those results showed no improvements or activity in his brain. He died shortly after the final test was performed.

Kaufman says when he left the hospital, Woods' parents, Elbert "Ickey" Woods and Chandra Baldwin Woods, told him, "God has a plan."

Saturday night, the family released that their son was an organ donor. Potentially eight lives will be saved by the 16 year-old's decision.

Kaufman says Woods wanted to be a lawyer and was a motivational member of the team and school. Woods played cornerback on defense. He last practiced Wednesday morning, several hours before his asthma attack. His family says he had several asthma attacks over the years, but not one recently.

Within a year's time, Woods is the second Princeton football player to die. In Dec. 2009, Ryan Sawyer was killed in a car crash. He had just finished his senior football season. Head football coach, Bill Leach, says the team will wear the numbers 24 (Woods) and 7 (Sawyer) on their helmets this season.

Princeton Football held a scrimmage Saturday and school starts Monday. Counselors are available at Princeton High School from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday for students and staff, and into next week if needed.

Jovante will be flown to California on August 18, and there will be a service in Fresno on Saturday, August 21.

On Saturday, August 28, there will be a service in Cincinnati.  Details on this service will be made available when the family returns from California.

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