Wesleyan Christian School in Bartlesville has canceled classes Monday after the death of football player Ben Hamm. Hamm, a junior linebacker and team captain, was injured in a game.
Hamm took what seemed to be a run-of-the-mill hit last week, but things went wrong. He was rushed to the hospital with bleeding in his brain and was in a coma. For nearly a week, Ben's family and friends gathered by his side and prayed for him in the hopes that he'd pull through.
Since his injury, the school had shared his ups and downs on social media. On Saturday, the update of his death shocked the community.
Ben grew up in the closely knit Christian community. At school Sunday, balloons in the school colors were placed there in his memory. During the tough time, the community has leaned on prayer and on each other.
The purple and gold plan to stand "Stronger Together" as they cope with the death of No. 28, Ben Hamm.
As a faith-based private school, Wesleyan Christian School's theme this year is Stronger Together. It's based off the Bible verse Ecclesiastes 4:12 which says: "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three stands not quickly broken."
In an interview with the schools athletic director Monday, Casey Parham spoke highly of Ben's character.
"From a young age, Ben has been a leader on the team, encouraging players by example," Parham said. "Ben is the first to come to practice to do the extra work.
Ben was rushed to the hospital during a football game last Friday with a serious head injury. School leaders say they haven't been able to pinpoint the exact moment the injury happened.
With Ben's death so recent, school representatives are holding off on speaking about this tragedy, only saying that now, his suffering is over. And just as Ben's Christian family came together in prayer before his death, that same togetherness will stay at the forefront now.
On a team Facebook page, the school posted:
To the WCS Family:
We will not have school tomorrow. The staff will be meeting on Monday for a time of lifting our fellow teacher and family up in prayer and to... discuss how we proceed forward. Thank you for your understanding and patience in this matter.
We have made arrangements to have many of the youth pastors in our community available at the school from 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM on Monday for any 9th - 12th grade students that want to come up and visit with them. We will also have counselors and youth pastors available at the school throughout the week.
On Tuesday morning, the 9th - 12th graders will meet in the Youth Chapel first thing in the morning at 8:15 a.m. We want to spend some time honoring Ben with our high schoolers before we resume our regular schedule. Elementary and Middle School students will go to their normal classes and class schedules.
A number of area schools have shown support for Ben and his family by wearing the number 28 during their games over the weekend and praying on the field.