Jackie Barden, the mother of a high school student who collapsed and died after a football game was only notified of her son’s death via Facebook.
The mother wasn’t told of her 16-year-old son Ridge’s death at a high school football match because she was not listed as an emergency contact.
Jackie Barden‘s ex-husband, whom she is not on “speaking terms” with and was the boy’s emergency contact, also did not tell her.
“On Facebook, on the news, that’s how I had to learn of my son’s death,” Jackie Barden told WSYR-TV.
Once the news had finally reached her, Jackie Barden says she was told the last opportunity to view her son’s body had passed.
By the time police became involved in the Ridge’s death on October 14th, they had assumed all of boy’s family had been notified.
Being divorced and not listed as an emergency contact for her son, only Ridge’s father who was listed as a contact was notified and he never told her.
Cortland County Coroner Kevin Sharp told WSYR-TV:
“If the people that are there are not forthcoming that there is an estranged spouse or a parent who they are not speaking to, and it doesn’t need to be a spouse, it can be a parent, child, sister, brother, anyone.”
“We don’t know who to contact.”
Police Chief Dan Mack says he regrets the assumption made on the family notification and that future steps will be taken so it doesn’t happen again.
“I would really hope that people just take a look and start realizing that things have to change so that no other parent would have to suffer and go through what I went through,” Jackie Barden said.
Jackie Barden’s son, Ridge collapsed on the field and he later died at the hospital. Autopsy results showed that the teenager died from blunt force trauma.
Speaking out to the other players on his varsity team and their opponent that night, Jackie Barden hopes any possible guilt or responsibility felt for his death will be dismissed.
“He just would not want those people to think that it was their fault,” Jackie Barden explained.
“It was just an accident. Everything that Ridge did, he did with full gust. I’d say just take that attitude with you,” she insists.
Ridge’s father released a statement on the loss of his son, WSYR he was too emotional for an interview.
“I have no words right now. My world has been devastated. But, I want to say thank-you to all of you who have written me and are sending your prayers to me. October 14th will go down as the worst day of my life. I don’t know what I’m going to do without you Ridge. I love you so much and cannot even grasp that you are not here,” he wrote.
Jackie Barden said: “It still is shocking. He’s with us and he’s gone.”