Upstate communities mourn the loss of 14-year-old footballer

EVANS MILLS, N.Y. (WSYR) — After suffering a serious head injury during a football game, Tyler Christman, a Carthage junior varsity player, has died. The 14-year-old was injured during an away game at West Genesee on Saturday.

“It’s just unimaginable.”

peggy gill
owner, evans mills raceway park

Ever since Tyler’s injury, the community has shown an outpouring of support to the family. And like many, Peggy Gill has a heavy heart after learning of Tyler’s death. “I can’t imagine what their days, hours, minutes are like,” she said.

Gill and her husband own the Evans Mills Raceway Park, about 20 minutes outside Carthage, Tyler’s hometown. Racing is how she first met Tyler. “We actually purchased the facility from Tyler’s family late of 2018,” she explained. “Samantha and Jason had run the facility for about three years.”

Gill says that Tyler and his two brothers would race at the track every Saturday during the summer months. “As competitive as racing is, there is an underlying family support system that far surpasses any competition. So, when something happens to one of us, it happens to all of us,” she says. “We just want the Christman family to know that we support them, we love them, and that Tyler was a very special boy here.”

Tyler lost his life in an accident while playing another sport he loved, football. He was hit on the field, and reportedly “dropped instantly,” then was rushed to the hospital to receive emergency care for brain swelling and bleeding.

“That young man lived more at 14 years than some of us will ever live in our entire lifetime.”

Peggy Gill

After four days of fighting for his life, Tyler’s aunt, Faith Parks, said that he died at Upstate University Hospital. His final moments included a “hero walk,” a ceremonial event to honor a patient before an organ donation.

Tyler’s father, Jason, posted an emotional message on Facebook Tuesday morning as a way to remember his son.

Evan Mills Raceway Park hosted a candlelight vigil on Tuesday night to mourn the loss. The raceway is where Tyler spent the majority of his summer months racing. The live stream of the vigil can be watched in the player below.

School districts and communities across the state are showing support for the young Carthage football player’s family. Many at local schools and businesses have been wearing red and using the hashtag #TylerStrong all week. This included the West Genesee Central School District, where Tyler’s injury happened.

West Genesse Superintendent David Bills also shared a message following Tyler’s death:

The West Genesee CSD schools and community have a heavy heart with the news of Tyler Christman’s passing. Our thoughts are of his family and the entire Carthage community during this difficult time.

Included in my prayers are all of those so positively impacted by Tyler and hurting from this loss.

David C. Bills
West Genesee Central School District Superintendent

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