High schools bring out jerseys to remember Brodie McCarthy

Students in schools across P.E.I. are donning jerseys this week to remember Brodie McCarthy, the Montague High School student who died following a tragic accident during a rugby match Sunday.

'I still love rugby and I'm still going to play rugby'

Colonel Gray High School marked a jersey day Wednesday: from left to right, Sarah White, Andrew Rowe, Grant MacAdam and Zoe Glase. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

Students in schools across P.E.I. are wearing jerseys this week to remember Brodie McCarthy, the Montague High School student who died following a tragic accident during a rugby match Sunday.

It's a spontaneous idea that popped up at the schools separately, with events at Charlottetown Rural and Colonel Gray Wednesday, and other events happening later in the week.

Zoe Glase, a rugby player at Colonel Gray in Charlottetown, came up with the idea for her school. She and her teammates have many connections with student athletes in Montague.

"It's been emotional," said Glase.

It's been an emotional week, says rugby player Zoe Glase. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

"Overall it's been great to see all the support that everyone is giving to Montague and to hear all the stories about who he was and what a great person he was."

A difficult week

Andrew Rowe, a teacher at Colonel Gray and the AAA rugby coach, said it's been a difficult time for his athletes.

Students at Colonel Gray had a box out for donations in support of the McCarthy family. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

"Monday was really hard. I had quite a few of my rugby players that were coming and just looking to talk."

Rowe said there were a few hundred students and some staff wearing jerseys to remember McCarthy.

Grant MacAdam, a rugby player at Colonel Gray, said it's been a hard week for him.

"I was pretty good friends with him and I played hockey with him growing up," he said of McCarthy.

Raising funds

Students were also raising money in support of the McCarthy family. Rowe is developing an idea to create a memorial bursary that would go to a student graduating from Montague High.

"We are looking to set up a bursary that will be given out annually to a student who exhibited similar traits as Brodie did," he said.

The tragedy has drawn reaction from around the world. The World Rugby Council, in Ireland Wednesday, paused in remembrance at the beginning of its meeting.

The play that led to McCarthy's fatal injury has been described as unremarkable. He was coherent when he came off the field but then collapsed, and despite being rushed to hospital he could not be revived.

The P.E.I. Dept. of Justice and Public Safety says the New Brunswick coroner's office is the investigating agency in the death. Summerside police are assisting by gathering information from officials, coaches, witnesses and possibly players, but they stress it is not a criminal investigation. They confirmed that they would be forwarding the information gathered so far to the coroner by end of day Wednesday and would continue to assist as needed.

'I'm going to keep on playing'

"It's a tragic event but it doesn't define the sport or the community at all," said Glase.

Brodie McCarthy is being remembered around the world. (Submitted by Montague Regional High School)

"It was just an accident. I still love rugby and I'm still going to play rugby."

MacAdam said he feels the same way. 

"I think I'm going to keep on playing to kind of keep Brodie's spirit in the game," he said.

Rowe said he will be putting out information soon on how people can make donations for the memorial bursary.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to support the McCarthy family and as of Wednesday it had already raised more than $24,000.

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With files from Katerina Georgieva