The son of former Green Bay Packers linebacker Brady Poppinga died Wednesday following a severe asthma attack, according to multiple media reports.
Julius Poppinga, a 17-year-old junior attending Westlake High School in Ventura County, California, was a member of the high school’s varsity football team. After having trouble breathing, he checked into a hospital, where suffered a collapsed lung, and never recovered, the Ventura County Star reported citing several sources.
Poppinga, a 6 foot, 1-inch tall lineman for the Westlake Warriors football team, played in the team’s first game of the season on Aug. 18, according to the outlet.
Westlake coach Mark Serve told The Los Angeles Times he visited the teenager at the hospital, and the young man seemed to be improving.
“He didn’t want to talk about his health. He wanted to talk football,” Serve said. “We talked about him getting back on the field. I was texting last night letting him know ‘I love you.’ This morning, I got the news.”
The team will play Thousand Oaks on Friday. Serve told The Times he spoke to Poppinga’s father, who said his son would have wanted them to go ahead and play the game.
Julius’s high school showed their support for the Poppinga family in a memorial held at the school’s football stadium Wednesday night, according to the outlet.
The Westlake football team also honored Julius in a post on Instagram, featuring him and his older sister Jasmine.
“The Westlake Football family wants to send our deepest condolences to the Poppinga Family. Julius was a beloved member of our team and will be greatly missed by the entire tribe,” the team wrote.
Brady Poppinga posted his thanks to all who had responded to his son’s passing on Twitter Thursday night.
“I would like to thank EVERYONE for their unbelievably beautiful, sweet and loving compassion sent our way,” Poppinga wrote. “Julius is a special soul who has touched so many lives. He is missed, but we KNOW that through the Savior, we will see him and be with him again. #familiesareforever”
Julius’s older sister Jasmine also posted a tribute to her younger brother on Instagram along with a photo taken when they were children.
“Words cannot even begin to describe the immense amount of love, kindness, compassion, humor, athleticism, knowledge, trustworthiness, consideration for others, sincerity, loyalty and friendly characteristics Julius holds. He is the best younger brother I could ever ask for,” she wrote.
“I miss him more than anyone can ever imagine, but knowing that Julius’s lovely soul is in the hands of God comforts me. The way life works through God and our guardian angels is sometimes not the outcome we want or would ever expect,” Jasmine noted.
Brady Poppinga played six of his eight NFL seasons with the Packers. He was a member of the team when Green Bay won Super Bowl XLV in 2010.
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