Jersey Shore Football Community Steps Up to Support Injured High School Football Player
The Shore Conference has 42 football-playing schools that each have their own fierce rivalries, many of which date back decades and span several generations of players. The action can get intense and sometimes there is legitimate animosity between programs. But when a situation arises that transcends football, this community always comes through to support its own.
On Friday night during the St. John Vianney vs. Manasquan high school football game, SJV senior Aaron Van Trease suffered a severe spinal cord injury while playing defense on the third play of the game. Van Trease, who is the Lancers' starting quarterback and safety, was airlifted to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick where he underwent immediate surgery to remove a fractured vertebra, according to a GoFundMe page set up to support his recovery.
As he was being helped off the field by medical personnel, Van Trease told SJV head coach Jeff Papcun "Don't worry about me. Go win this game". His teammates rallied around him and defeated Manasquan, 32-0, for the team's fourth straight victory. The Lancers are now 4-1 and ranked No. 8 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10.
Once the local football community learned of Van Trease's injury, it quickly mobilized to set up fundraisers to support him and his family during the recovery process. Jason Wombough, who is currently an assistant coach at Ocean Township High School, the Director of Football Operations at Asylum Sports Center in Wall, and a former assistant at St. John Vianney, along with Asylum owners Mike and Lucia Mozeika, put together an apparel sale of AVT 18 shirts and hats with all proceeds going to the Van Trease Family. The online store can be accessed here.
Additionally. a GoFundMe page entitled "Prayers for AVT #18" has been set up by a friend of the family to raise money to assist the Van Trease Family during Aaron's recovery. In just 14 hours, the community has raised over $29,000 dollars and already eclipsed the fundraiser's goal.
To support Aaron Van Trease and his family during his recovery process, please visit the links below.