Julius Poppinga,17, the son of former Packers Super Bowl champion linebacker Brady Poppinga, died Wednesday.
The Ventura County Star reported that Poppinga suffered an asthma attack and collapsed lung. He was hospitalized for almost two weeks.
The junior attended Westlake High School in Thousand Oaks, California. He was an outstanding “two-way football player” and also played lacrosse.
The New York Post reported that Principal Jason Branham expressed his sympathies via an email to the school community. He wrote: “On behalf of the entire Westlake High School community, we send our deepest condolences to Julius’ family, friends, teammates, and everyone who had the pleasure of knowing and interacting with him.”
Branham added: “At Westlake and throughout CVUSD, one of our greatest strengths is our caring and close community, which makes it all the more important that we continue to support and be there for one another in this incomprehensible time of loss and sadness.”
The Los Angeles Times reported Poppinga reported experiencing health problems on Aug. 18.
Westlake coach Mark Serve recalled one of his last conversations with Julius: “He didn’t want to talk about his health. He wanted to talk football. We talked about him getting back on the field. I was texting last night letting him know, ‘I love you.’”
Poppinga’s sister, Jasmine, posted a touching message on Instagram.
“Words can not 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. And the most amazing older brother to my younger sisters.”
Jasmine added: “Everyone who has a chance to interact with Julius and all of his accomplishments in this life has been blessed. Taking this tragic event and looking at it in a positive way has been hard, but instead of grieving I would rather celebrate his 17 wonderful and beautiful years on this earth and all the impacts he made in my life, my family, his peers, teammates, teachers, coaches, and anyone who has ever met him.”
The Westlake football team posted a photo of Poppinga and his sister on Instagram. The caption read: “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. #OneTribe #WarriorStrong.”
Westlake football was considering canceling their scheduled game with Thousand Oaks this Friday. Julius’ father Brady contacted coach Serve, telling him his son would want the team to play, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Brady was a fourth-round pick of the Packers in the 2005 NFL Draft. He played six of his eight seasons with the Packers, aiding in their 2011 Super Bowl XLV championship.
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