Mural of Northeast High player, who died after collapsing on football field, brings awareness to rare disease

The sun rises on the first day of school over the Northeast High’s Vikings football stadium, marking a new day, a new year.

When students, faculty, and staff return, they're met with new artwork on the side of the football stadium’s stands.

"Been doing a lot of work in the community," Brian McAllister, the muralist, told FOX 13. "I have a lot of murals in the area and just kind of word of mouth. I hope it motivates the team. I hope it makes them want to play a little harder."

"Walk through with tickets, you have to walk by him," he added. "Any home fan that sits in those stands have to walk right to him. So, it's a pretty powerful place, and we're really lucky to have everybody onboard to allow us to do it here."

Photo: Mural of Jacquez Welch at Northeast High School shows the former football player handing a football to a child wearing football helmet

Mural of Jacquez Welch at Northeast High School

The mural depicts a player handing off to the future of Vikings football. That player is Jacquez Welch.

In a way, it speaks for itself but for his mom, Marcia, Mcallister, and others that knew #4, there is a deeper meaning.

"The mural is like a big ‘Wow!’ One, because he collapsed out here on this field, and he went out doing what he loved and, two, to see him on this wall is like... Big!" Marcia explained to FOX 13. "Like they say: Once a Viking, always a Viking... can’t take more or less out of that. He’s on the wall, and it will always be here."

READ: Jacquez Welch's mother, siblings cross the stage at Northeast High's graduation in memory of the young athlete

Jacquez collapsed in the middle of a football game at that very stadium in 2019.

It was later discovered he had a brain condition, AVM (Arteriovenous Malformation), a tangling of blood vessels in the brain. He died two weeks after the collapse.

Photo: School photo of Jacquez Welch

Jacquez Welch

As dark as that day was, the daylight that followed is everything that is in that mural.

"He just shines wherever he goes," Marcia said. "It’s amazing that he touched so many people. To me, it was just my son. I didn’t know that he was helping out a young girl who was getting bullied. He helped her out. I didn’t know he was tutoring other kids. It’s just wow... it wows me to this day."

FROM 2019: Jacquez Welch’s mom says her son's death is the start of his life-saving journey

Because of his selflessness, five organs were able to be given to recipients in need.

In the game of football, the most trusted are given the ball, in order to win.

This mural is a constant reminder in life, and even in death. Jacquez gave the most important parts of himself so that others will have a chance at success.

"To be able to pay tribute to Jacquez and his family, I mean, that's just, you don't get many projects very often. It is as deep and as meaningful as it gets," McAllister said.

Photo: From this angle, you can see the mural is located on the wall where the football field bleachers are located

From this angle, you can see the mural is located on the wall where the football field bleachers are located

Marcia created the "Jacquez Welch Foundation," to bring awareness to AVM.

McAllister worked on this project alone. However, when he's not working, he's teaching mural art at Gibbs High School.

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