The Shocking Dangers of High School Football

New Jersey high school star quarterback Evan Murray died of an abdominal hemorrhage caused by a lacerated spleen.
7:46 | 09/29/15

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? ? there's a secret we wanna know ? a recent string of similar accidents. Now with so much at stake, critics are taking action. Here's ABC's gio Benitez. Reporter: Friday night under the lights. Evan Murray, seen here in a previous game, commanding his New Jersey high school football team to what fans hope will be another win. Then in an instant, everything changes. The 17-year-old star quarterback from Warren hills dying after taking hard hits on the football field. A mystery for days. Now solved. Just hours ago, an autopsy revealing the three-sport star died of massive internal bleeding from a blow to his spleen, which was already enlarged. It was overwhelming, quite frankly. We all dread such news. It was terrible. Really, really kind and genuine kid. He had a good heart. Reporter: During the game friends say Murray took at least two hard hits. The last hit right in the stomach. Murray walking off the field with help from teammates but collapsing in the silines. Then getting up again to give everyone a thumbs-up. Just hours later, he would be pronounced dead at the hospital. The news bringing his teammates to tears. Hundreds of kids and teachers mourning. Especially Murray's girlfriend. Sharing these images of the couple on instagram, smiling on the beach, happy teenagers. Her last caption Reading, "I lost the love of my life in a football accident." Everyone cheers for him at football games, basketball, baseball. He's a really good kid. Reporter: Friends remembering that good athlete with top grades. Those who knew him are just beginning to pick up the pieces and come to terms with the loss of who many say was a leader. Carried himself so well. Everywhere he went. A lot of people look up to, kids look up to. He was a good example for everyone as a son, as a friend. Reporter: Murray's one of three high school football players to lose his life related to an on-field injury just this season. That compared to five high school football players in all of 2014. 16-year-old Tyrell Cameron from franklin parish, Louisiana, dying after a "Undisclosed injury" in early September. A similar tragic fate for Ben hamm, 16, from Oklahoma where he died two weeks ago from a head injury after spending a week in the hospital. The statistics are chilling and read like an epidemic. An average of 12 high school football players die every year from football-related injuries. Primarily from cardiac failures or brain trauma. In Evan Murray's case the autopsy report suggests he was already on that field playing football with a condition, that enlarged spleen. A direct blow, hard enough in a the right angle, especially if the spleen is already enlarged, can result in this terrible result. Reporter: Dr. Julian bales is a neurosurgeon. Portrayed in the upcoming movie "Concussion" all about heavy hits on the field. You have no idea how bad this could get. If there's any doubt you've got to sit that player out. On the field treatment in today's world really involves a very conservative approach. So if there's ? Where taking care of yourself takes care of more than just yourself. ?For $299a month ? cc1 Test message Test Text1 underline Test Text1 italics Good evening. We begin tonight with the sudden death of a popular high school football player. It happened after he was injured on the field in New Jersey and 2008, Taylor and his team were playing a scrimmage. In the fourth quarter, Taylor lined up to make a play. As I threw it over the middle, he went up into the air, caught it. And at the same time, he's hit by the safety and the linebacker. He went down hard. He didn't move for a couple of seconds. Then got up. Tried to go back into the huddle. And they yelled from the sidelines that he needed to come off. He was wobbly. Staggering. They could tell he needed to at least sit out a play. And he made it over to the sideline on his own. Once they laid Taylor down, I could tell his color did not look good. The doctor was there. And he kind of concured the same time, that look, we've got a real problem. I got messages saying, call back, it's about T., and I absolutely had 100% confidence that I knew what the phone call was. I was completely confident in my mind that T. Had just caught a touchdown pass. Reporter: Taylor was placed in an ambulance and rushed to the hospital. He lost consciousness in the ambulance and never regained it. Reporter: Doctors discovered his liver had been ruptured by the blow. At one point I thought that he was trying to wake up. And in my heart I'll always think that. Because I held on to him. And he was squeezing my hand. As I talked to him. So I believe in my heart that he was trying to talk to me. That he was trying to tell me, it will be okay. Reporter: After hours of emergency surgery, Taylor continued to bleed to death internally. Doctors telling them there was nothing more they could do. After we cut off the life support -- held him in my arms. And watched him pass away. I felt his spirit and soul leave this place. And go to a better one. Reporter: After he died, they realized a few other kids were wearing eagle shield shirts designed to protect your ribs and organs. But since it isn't a required piece of equipment the team wasn't provided with these. We basically turned to each other and said, okay. If we're going to do something with youth sport safety, we've got to do it now. It was so obvious to us. Reporter: They created the Taylor haugan foundation to help other children get access to eagle shield shirts. His parent believe that had Taylor been wearing that protective garment, he would have had a greater chance of surviving that impact. Tonight we've asked what kind of protective gear Evan Murray was wearing Friday night. But we've not heard back. Meanwhile, a friend of Murray's launching a gofundme campaign, raising over $50,000 for his family, who tell us tonight there are no words to express how touched we are by the overwhelming outpouring of love and support. Any concern at all that someone is suffering any kind of injury they're pulled out of the game. Reporr: Eten mvaurray isn't the only high school student to

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