Barrow Co. student remembered as role model for football team

by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:

Apalachee High School student Jordan Bracken-Howley died from a pituitary tumor on his brain, according to the Gwinnett Medical Examiner.

BARROW COUNTY, Ga. - The Gwinnett County medical examiner says the sudden death of a Barrow County high school football player was the result of a brain tumor.

Jordan Bracken-Howley, 17, was found unresponsive in his bed at his father's Lawrenceville home Monday morning.

His sudden death has devastated the Apalachee High School community.

The medical examiner made it clear to Channel 2 Action News that football did not contribute to his death.

But the examiner said it does explain his symptoms. He had complained of headaches, nausea and vomiting.

On the field and the classroom, Bracken-Howley pushed himself to succeed. His coach said "Number 50" had a strong work ethic and a stronger heart.

"He wasn't going to do anything that was going to bring any attention to himself. He was just going to do whatever he could to help make things better," Coach Shane Davis told Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh.

Jordan was a rising senior at Apalachee High School in Winder. The school district said he was an advanced-placement student. On the football field, Jordan wasn't a starter, but Davis said that never affected what he brought to every game and every practice.

"He didn't miss workouts. Anytime we needed a scout team out there to run the other teams' plays, he was the first one out there. He just had a huge, huge heart."

According a Lawrenceville police report, Jordan told his father he wasn't feeling well Sunday night. He had a headache and felt nauseated.

"Around 7 the next morning, on Monday morning, his dad went to wake him for our morning practice. His dad found him non-responsive," Davis said.

On Tuesday, the Gwinnett County medical examiner told Channel 2 Action News an autopsy revealed a mass at the base of Jordan's brain. The examiner officially ruled it a pituitary tumor, which swelled and put too much pressure on his brain.

Davis said he always told his players the scoreboard does not define the player. What's most important is how you live. He believes Jordan will always be the example of how to live right for his team.

"I don't know how it's really going to affect us until we get back out there, and he's not there."

The team will meet Wednesday morning for the first time since Jordan's death.

Channel 2 Action News

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