Justin Lysack (far left) collapsed on the bench during a lacrosse game May 31. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.
Credits: Submitted by family
WINNIPEG -- The death of a Winnipeg lacrosse player during a game has stunned Manitoba organizers and officials of the sport.
The death of 20-year-old Justin Lysack on Thursday has rocked his family, after his parents saw him collapse on his Falcons team's bench early in the Red River Lacrosse Association Junior-B match.
"When his breathing stopped and his heart stopped, I was with him," Darrin Lysack said tearfully on Saturday of his efforts to revive his son by performing CPR on the sidelines at Richmond Kings Community Centre in Fort Richmond.
"He just passed away in my arms."
It's unclear whether any of Justin Lysack's actions during the game, in which the Falcons were playing the Sidewinders, caused a fatal injury. Darrin Lysack said that after his son was rushed to nearby Victoria General Hospital, a medical official told him "that all the early indications are that he had a brain hemorrhage."
Lysack added, though, that "there's no official" word before an autopsy slated for Monday.
The tragedy came eight minutes into the game, shortly after Justin -- described by his dad as a large, "bruiser" of a player who had been involved in lacrosse since the age of nine -- recorded an assist on a Falcons goal that opened the scoring.
"He passed the ball and got the assist on the first goal of the game," Darrin Lysack sais. Justin then celebrated the goal in a way that was out of character for the "rough-and-tumble" young man, he added.
"My son had never hugged guys on the floor. And yet, he hugged them after that first goal," he added.
"He actually jumped on the group. I don't know how he got his 15-pounds-overweight ass up there to do that, but he hugged them. That was quite unusual -- but maybe a sign that he knew something was up."
According to Darrin, his son then told his coach he had a headache while on the sidelines, before cheering another Falcons goal and then collapsing.
Darrin Lysack and his wife Maria point out that Justin -- the oldest of their three sons -- was a close friend and lacrosse teammate of Kelly Clay, who was killed two years ago in a barroom scuffle with another man who is on trial for manslaughter.
Darrin has spoken to Justin's teammates since his death.
"I told the kids that I'm very jealous of the players who were on the floor," he said.
"They're the ones who got the last hug out of my son, that I never got."