Family of Geneseo football player who collapsed during game speaks out after Damar Hamlin’s injury

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GENESEO, N.Y. — The Geneseo High School football player who was seriously hurt during a game last September is still recovering. New10NBC spoke with his mother to get her thoughts on Bills player Damar Hamlin going into cardiac arrest during a game.

“If I could, with all my heart, I would hug Damar’s mother because I feel her pain,” Melissa Kretchmer said. “Been there, done that. And I’ve sat there and we waited for her for what felt like forever.”

In September — Melissa Kretchmer’s son Julian Huffman – was in the middle of a football game when he suddenly collapsed. He ended up going to Strong Memorial Hospital where he was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma. They performed CPR on the football field.

You can imagine the heartbreak she felt — after hearing of bill’s safety Damar Hamlin’s injury — bringing back memories after Julian was seriously hurt on the field.

“I was devastated for 20 straight minutes. I ugly cried on my couch while the rest of my family was asleep because it was just that it was a trigger. I couldn’t do it. And it just kept giving flashbacks of what happened to my son on the football field.”

Melissa says Julian did not have any contact before he collapsed.. and thanks to the quick-acting medical team — he was able to finish the season with his teammates. Now doctors say — no more football.

“In the beginning, he was a little devastated. He was told that like he will never be able to do contact sports again. We’ve gotten with each appointment we’ve gotten to that point.”

But she says Julian has always been a role model for his three-year-old brother Brayden who of course loves the game.

“My younger son wants to be just like his big brother, so he wants to play. And I’m not going to stop him now. Well, I have near-fatal heart attacks while watching him play, probably.”

And despite the risks that can come with any sport — she says she knows the coaches do what they can to protect their players.

“I won’t stop my kids from wanting to fulfill their dreams. It’s what they do. I mean, the only thing I can do is be their biggest supporter. I will be there at every turn.”

Again Julian is recovering and doing well. His mom says after speaking to their neurosurgeon they still don’t a have cause for his injury. She says for now Julian is focused on getting into the military and they are also sending their prayers to the Hamlin family.