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26Sep/12Off

Santa Ana College Football Will Never Be The Same

Football is a violent sport. Many football players sustain minor injuries. Others sustain catastrophic injuries. A few of them will die. Brandon Brown was one of those players.

With 10 tackles in two seasons, Brown didn’t statistically do much for the Santa Ana College football team.

English: This is a locator map showing Orange ...

English: This is a locator map showing Orange County in California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But that didn’t make him any less a part of the Santa Ana College football program.

And if his death – 1,500 miles away and while playing for another school – is a reminder of anything today, it is this:

Being related is just one of the ways of being family.

Brown, 26, died last weekend in Kansas, his massive body succumbing to injuries inflicted a week earlier in a late-night fight that police continue to investigate. So far, they’ve made one arrest. A 19-year-old.

A defensive lineman from Sacramento, Brown left behind hundreds of questions about what happened that night, dozens of stunned former teammates here and at Tabor College, three hours west of Kansas City, and, saddest of all, two children – a 3-year-old boy and a 7-month-old girl.

On Tuesday, a few blocks from Tabor, there was a memorial service. One of Brown’s Tabor teammates, Josh Murphy, wrote a song to remember him. “Holding Back Tears” was played to accompany a slideshow of Brown’s life.

Back at Santa Ana College, Coach Geoff Jones continues to sort through his own emotions while attempting to read the emotions of his players. There are no X’s and O’s on how to navigate through tragedy.

Brown didn’t play much for the Dons as a freshman. But he was a starter his second season, before blowing out his knee in the third game. That quickly, his career at Santa Ana was over.

In the summer, he transferred to Tabor, where four other former Santa Ana players also began this season. Jones has a picture of a group – dressed in Tabor gear – on his phone.

The last time Jones saw Brown was in July. They parted with a high-five, a half-hug and an understanding that they’d be there for one another.

Ten tackles. That’s not a lot, but, at the same time, that’s everything. That’s enough. Choosing to become part of a team is deciding to become part of something larger, too.

That’s true everywhere, even at places like Santa Ana, a two-year school where they play mostly for fun and the pursuit of an education.

Brown is in the record books here, which means he’s a piece of the school’s forever. And forever lasts a long time, longer even than death.

They’ll remember him around here as a guy who liked to have fun, who jabbered with teammates and made the grinding days of practice slightly less grinding.

His former position coach, Joe Okoturoh, says Brown’s smiling attitude “brought balance” to an otherwise violent, serious sport.

Brown was 6-feet-3, 280 pounds, but he carried with all that mass a personality much lighter.

When the “BB” stickers arrive from Kansas, each Santa Ana College player will place one on his helmet.

Jones recently texted his counterpart at Tabor, a coach named Mike Gardner, a quote from Martin Luther King. It dealt with being strong when facing adversity.

“I know he has to be in a brutal place,” Jones says. “It’s sickening to me and saddening to me. It’s senseless. When you put that much into a person, it hurts even more when you lose them.”

Santa Ana College lost Brandon Brown on Saturday. But, even in death, Brandon Brown will never lose Santa Ana College.

If a loved one was the victim of wrongful death that was caused by negligence or some other form of reckless behavior, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.