"This is horrific and overwhelming," says the mother of a 14-year-old Indiana boy who died Friday in what's being described as a freak basketball accident. WSBT reports Nolan Gerwels was playing basketball on an indoor court at his Granger home with his little sister when the hoop's backboard, rim, and support bracket came loose and struck him in the head. "Obviously this is an extremely unusual event, so we're doing a little bit of investigation in terms of just exactly how the goal and the support bracket for it was anchored to the wall," St. Joseph County Police Assistant Chief Bill Thompson told the Indianapolis Star Monday.
In a statement to WNDU, Margaret Gerwels describes her son as "incredible," an honor student and first-chair percussionist who had just wrapped up summer basketball conditioning in anticipation of making his school's freshman team. "Nolan was a kind, caring kid, who valued hard work, fairness, and loyalty. He was always willing to help anyone," even serving as the assistant coach for his sister's team for the past three years. "We are a close family, so everyone bears this heavy weight of his absence. He was so, so loved by everyone." (Read more freak accident stories.)