Polytech football team, community rallying behind injured player

Polytech football player Collin Jaksch is recovering from a serious head injury that required surgery over the weekend, which he suffered during Friday night’s game against Dover. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

WOODSIDE — Even after suffering a serious injury and undergoing emergency surgery, Collin Jaksch couldn’t help but think about his teammates.

He didn’t lose his sense of humor, either.

“One of the first things he said to me was, ‘I guess I’m done for the rest of the season, huh coach?’ He still has a sense of humor about him and we’re going to keep moving forward for him,” said Polytech High football coach Robert Mason.

The Polytech receiver and outside linebacker suffered a severe head injury during the Panthers’ football game at Dover High Friday night.

The junior was rushed to the hospital that night and needed emergency surgery to relieve the pressure. The surgery was a success and, since then, he has shown signs that he’s on his way to recovery.

Collin’s father, Harvey Jaksch, posted an update regarding Collin’s status to his Facebook page Sunday morning. It can be read below:
“As most everyone knows, on Friday night Collin was severely injured during the football game at Dover High. We wanted to give everyone an update as of this morning. Collin had emergency surgery Friday night to relieve the swelling/pressure on his brain. On Saturday, the medical staff removed the breathing tube as Collin was able to breath on his own. Late Saturday morning, Collin was able to start communicating with the medical staff, family and friends. Things are moving in the right direction but it’s going to be a long recovery process from this point. We would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of support for Collin. It has been simply amazing.”

Either Mason or one of his assistant coaches has been able to visit Collin and the family at the hospital each day since Friday and members of the team had the opportunity to FaceTime him Monday.

“From everything we’re hearing, he’s recovering, and it has been a blessing,” said Mason. “Bayhealth and the doctors there have done a wonderful job and he’s recovering now; the family seems to be in good spirits.”

Collin Jaksch (8) and his brother, Trent, celebrate after the two hooked up on a touchdown pass against CR earlier this season. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

Just a couple of days removed from the surgery, members of the Polytech community had already stepped up to help Collin and his family.

A GoFundMe page was set up Monday afternoon and, within the first eight hours, the link had already been shared nearly 150 times on social media and the page had received over $1,100 in donations from 19 different donors.

The PAWS (Partners Actively Working for Students) group and the Pep Club at Polytech teamed together to set up a page on takethemameal.com, a website in which people can sign up to provide meals for a family going through a difficult time.

“When we heard about the incident with Collin, the first thing we thought is ‘how can we help?’ Polytech is a family and we wanted to help out,” said PAWS president Rory Talamini. “Coming from a military background, this is what you do, you make meals for people.”

Along with the help from Polytech principal Dr. Ryan Fuller, PAWS set up a meal system for the next six weeks in order to provide meals for the family at least two days a week.

Within 12 hours of the page launching, every scheduled meal slot had been accounted for by a member of the community.

“What’s great is not only are students and parents at Polytech helping out, but there’s a couple teachers who said, ‘oh absolutely, we want to pitch in too,’” said Talamini. “If they need more after that they’ll let us know and we’ll be happy to continue the program.”

Some students and faculty wore gray for concussion awareness in support of Collin on Monday, some even sporting a No. 8 (his football jersey number) to show their support.

“He comes from a family that’s well-known and well-supported, but this school is also an amazing school,” said Mason. “You don’t have to ask people to do things, they just start doing it. Like, ‘how can we help next?’ and ‘what can we do to help?’

Mason describes Collin — and his twin brother Trent, who is also a member of the football team — as great kids who have a great sense of humor and are loved by many.

“He’s just a wonderful young man,” Mason said. “He’s an incredible athlete, but also he’s just a wonderful guy — he and his brother are both wonderful guys. They’re funny and have a great sense of humor, well-liked and just fun to be around. They have such a great support system.”

With three weeks left on the schedule, the football team will be dedicating the rest of its season to Collin. The team wants to do anything it can to support the Jaksch family on Collin’s journey to full recovery.

“The kids are resilient,” Mason said of his players. “They’re worried about him and we actually had a chance to FaceTime him today. They’re committed to keep moving forward for Collin and we’re dedicating the rest of the season to him.

“Not just him, though … his brother, his sister, his mother and father, his grandmother, his grandfather, anyone in the family. Whatever they need from us, we’re going to jump to their beck and call.”

Click this link if you’d like to contribute to the GoFundMe page.

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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