A New Jersey teen died during a football game Friday night, and now the medical examiner has determined the cause. An autopsy found that Warren Hills quarterback Evan Murray died from a lacerated spleen, the Morris County medical examiner says, partly because the 17-year-old had an abnormally large organ that made it prone to injury, Lehigh Valley Live reports. The laceration caused massive internal bleeding that led to Evan's death, which was ruled an accident. The ME also noted there was no sign of heart disease or head trauma. While school officials haven't said how exactly Evan was injured, fellow players noticed he had "taken a couple of hard hits … including a helmet to the stomach," the site notes.
"The last play before the half, he got hit and we helped him to the sideline," a senior tackle says. Although witnesses said Evan seemed "woozy" after that final hit and had been slow in getting up throughout the game, no one feared the worst, CBS News reports. He even gave the thumbs-up sign as he was carted off the field and put into an ambulance, Lehigh Valley Live notes. His classmates, teammates, and school officials, meanwhile, are fondly remembering the person he was, with flowers, balloons, and his name with No. 18 (Evan's number) adorning the school parking spot where he normally parked. "Evan was a great leader," his baseball coach tells CBS. "He was a class-act kid [who] … carried himself well everywhere he went." (Three high school football players died in succession in October last year.)