Will McKamey's parents helping other football players stay safe

Will McKamey's parents helping other football players stay safe as they wait for answers about his death

Posted:
Proceeds from the "Live Like Will" foundation that so many have supported are paying for some new protective helmet covers. Proceeds from the "Live Like Will" foundation that so many have supported are paying for some new protective helmet covers.
All of the players at Grace Christian Academy are wearing new guardian caps on the practice field. They're special helmet covers designed to provide the best protection possible from head injuries. All of the players at Grace Christian Academy are wearing new guardian caps on the practice field. They're special helmet covers designed to provide the best protection possible from head injuries.
The McKameys say there is still no definitive answer on what caused Will's death yet. The family revealed the Air Force's Medical Examiner's office is working to find out. The McKameys say there is still no definitive answer on what caused Will's death yet. The family revealed the Air Force's Medical Examiner's office is working to find out.

By LORI TUCKER
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Some local middle and high school football players are a little safer on the field this season thanks to the family of Will McKamey who died in March after collapsing during practice at the Naval Academy in Maryland.

Proceeds from the "Live Like Will" foundation that so many have supported are paying for some new protective helmet covers.

Will's parents spoke only to 6 News about new information about what happened to their son that fateful day, as they work to carry out his legacy of helping others.

Previous story: Family, friends remembering former GCA football player Will McKamey

All of the players at Grace Christian Academy are wearing new guardian caps on the practice field. They're special helmet covers designed to provide the best protection possible from head injuries.

The McKameys purchased 100 caps through donations to the Live Like Will Foundation established right after Will died.

"Will was all business. Flowers wouldn't have been his thing, so we thought you know let's apply it to a good cause," said Coach Randy McKamey.

It's a bittersweet time for McKamey and his wife Kara.

"I see these boys that Randy coaches every day and what an awesome platform he has to work with them. I know that that's what Will would want, is for us to be down here and doing the same thing we've always done," said Kara.

This field carries a lot of memories. Will played football for his dad at Grace just two years ago. He suffered a head injury his senior season that put his football career in question for a time.

He bounced back and was cleared to play for the Naval Academy.

"He was already admitted to the Academy before his first accident, and of course they immediately started reviewing medical records and double checking everything, so not only was he cleared from a football standpoint by many doctors, many cat scans, he was also cleared by Navy itself for him to be admitted to the academy," said Kara.

"We all but assumed that he would be denied, that they would find something, and there was nothing. The most healthy 19-year-old you'll ever see," said Coach McKamey.

Will collapsed on the practice field in March and was rushed to Baltimore's Shock Trauma center, where he fell into a coma. In three days, he was gone.

"At that moment when we're trying to board a plane for Annapolis it was tough. We had to be faithful that things were going to work out and when I say work out, whether Will's here or God gets the glory," said Will's dad.

"We had the choice of faith or fear, and we chose faith because we knew that God's plan is always right, even if it's not what we wanted," said Will's mom.

The McKameys say there is still no definitive answer on what caused Will's death yet. The family revealed the Air Force's Medical Examiner's office is working to find out.

"Was it a blood pressure issue? We don't know. I can tell you this it was not a collision issue. It was not concussion related," said Randy. "It was the first day in pads and he never took a hit."

They believe Will suffered something similar to an aneurysm.

"Aneurysms happen all the time, but very rarely in a 19-year-old and very rarely in the middle of a sporting event twice. So just trying to find out why, he may have had a weakened area in the brain but as of now, nothing. His brain was perfect," said Kara.

While they wait for answers, they find joy in helping protect other young players on the field and embracing a faith that has grown even stronger these past four and a half months.

"People wonder, 'Where's God?' All these questions, God showed up for us. And we realize he is big enough. Definitely that's my biggest message is that I now know because you can't imagine that unless you've been there, but I now know what it's like to lose a child and I do know that God's big enough to get you through it. So if he's big enough for that, he's about big enough for everything," said Randy.

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