Sport: Mourning after brain death of youth footballer: “Darkest Hour”

Shock and sadness: In Frankfurt, a footballer from Berlin was seriously injured in a dispute between young people. Politicians and officials are faced with a growing problem.

Soccer is out of the question at the Berlin youth soccer club at the moment. “Dismissal” is the rather technical-sounding note on the event page about the game of the B youth team against Hertha 03 II originally planned for tonight in view of the dramatic events. This simple information can also be seen on the club’s homepage .

It is mourned at JFC Berlin. But not only the club from the capital district of Lichtenberg is deeply shocked by the brain death of a 15-year-old from the U17 youth team in East Berlin.

Brawl between the players

The violent events among youth footballers at a tournament in Frankfurt/Main, which led to the fatal injuries to the young player on Pentecost Sunday, are a concern for the judiciary. And they again lead to expressions of dismay from politicians and football officials.

Football and violence, that’s a well-known phenomenon, especially on local sports fields and – more and more often in the junior area. The events at the “Germany Cup” in Hesse are particularly dramatic in their dimension.

After JFC’s semi-final against FC Metz’s French youth academy team, which Berlin won, there was reportedly a scuffle between the players of both teams. As the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” reported today, citing the district court, the accused, who comes from France, are said to have initially attacked another opponent and hit him in the face with both fists.

He then put the 15-year-old in a headlock and hit him in the stomach. He was initially able to free himself and walk away. The accused ran after him and hit him hard on the head from behind. When the teenager collapsed, he left. The public prosecutor’s office confirmed the process.

The terrible diagnosis: brain death. It means that the 15-year-old’s organs, which are still functional, are only kept alive by machines. The victim is not conscious, and a return to life is considered medically impossible. According to information from the German Press Agency, the fatality is an organ donor.

After the crime on Pentecost Sunday, according to the public prosecutor’s office, he was initially held at machines to prepare for the removal of donor organs. This afternoon, the police and prosecutors reported that the 15-year-old “died in the hospital later today as a result of his severe brain injuries.” An autopsy will be carried out in the next few days to determine the cause of death.

case should be clarified

The alleged perpetrator was arrested according to the information and was taken into custody on Monday. “The arrest warrant has so far assumed dangerous and serious bodily harm,” said the spokeswoman for the Frankfurt public prosecutor’s office, Nadja Niesen, of the dpa. “Since the injured party is now brain dead, it will now be about the allegation of bodily harm resulting in death.”

Witnesses are wanted. Videos and photos can be sent to the police online or uploaded to a special page.

According to a statement from his club, the alleged perpetrator asserts that he did not intentionally injure the victim. FC Metz is available to the authorities to clarify the incidents. The JFC announced on its website that it did not want to comment publicly out of respect for the victim and his family.

A sports field in the Eckenheim district of Frankfurt has become a sad symbol of a worrying development. Recently, cases of violence have become public. A year ago, on a sports field in Berlin, an angry father attacked a teenage boy who had previously fouled his son. A knife was drawn during the argument.

prominent reactions

The associations are aware of the fundamental problem of progressive disinhibition on the sports fields. The German Football Association founded the AG Fair Play and Violence Prevention almost a decade ago. “Football doesn’t have a problem with violence. But violence is a problem for society as a whole, which therefore also affects football,” said its director Gunter A. Pilz, probably the best-known researcher on the subject of football violence.

Will the drama surrounding the JFC player lead to new preventive actions? Decision-makers at all levels reacted with concern. “The fact that a young player was taken from his life after a football game in Frankfurt aM stuns me, leaves me speechless. I wish the relatives, the friends, the team infinite strength in this darkest hour,” wrote Berlin’s Interior Senator Iris Spranger (SPD).

Berlin’s football association president Bernd Schultz was quoted in a statement: “Our thoughts and sympathy go out to all the relatives and team members of the player concerned in these difficult hours.” You stand by the club wherever you can.

Similar words came from Hesse: “We are shocked that a young person is fighting for his life through violence on a Hessian football field. Our thoughts are with the boy’s relatives,” said the Vice President of the Hessian Football Association and DFB Vice President Silke Sinning .

A violence problem?

In the 2021/22 season, the Berlin Football Association noted a total of 1936 events that concerned sports jurisdiction or were noted in game reports. Physical and verbal offenses are roughly balanced. Of particular concern, however, is that 43.5 percent of the cases were registered in youth football.

The JFC was founded in 2010 to convey an attitude to life that renounces the very violence of which one of its players has now become a victim. “Mental values, such as comradely behavior within a community and fair dealings with each other, are our priority,” says the website. “Fair play” is the “top priority”.


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