LEAGUE CITY, Texas – On December 4, 2020, 18-year-old Holden James was in a tragic accident during football practice.
Since then, his fellow students at Clear Creek High School in League City have rallied around James and his family to help raise funds and their spirits. James’ football coach, Brian Coffman, reflected on James’ talent both on and off the field.
“Holden was an offensive lineman for us, and he just shined at the tackle position,” said Coffman. “He was a go-getter. He was always asking questions, really attuned to the game of football.”
Melany Flores, Clear Creek High School Senior, says the students all knew James partly for being an outstanding athlete on the football team, but mostly for his kind personality.
“Everyone described him as a gentle giant. He’s super kind and a lot of his teammates also described him as someone who is very hardworking and determined. He’s a genuinely kind person,” said Flores.
It was to everyone’s dismay when tragedy struck during a regular football practice. Coach Coffman recalls the horrific scene.
“An accident happened where a kid tripped and fell into his leg. Everybody just moved out of the way. Everyone knew when they saw it, it was not pretty,” said Coffman.
James was quickly rushed to the hospital and taken into surgery. Sadly, the outcome was not ideal.
“By the time it was all over with, I know that they had to amputate above the knee,” said Coffman. “When that happened to him, it was like, ‘Why?’
Flores remembers how difficult it was for her and other students’ to digest the news.
“Everyone was just kind of in a state of shock for a while. Like, no one believed that it actually happened. I’m close to some of the offensive linemen, and it really hurt them. It took a toll on them,” said Flores.
For Coffman and the rest of the coaching staff, the incident truly hit home, as many view their players as part of their own family.
“To see what he had to go through and see the pain in his eyes, it hurts your heart to see such a great young man, talent aside, it’s the greatness in his heart and in his soul,” said Coffman.
Recognizing a pressing need to support their peer, a group of students quickly rallied to find ways to help James and his family through this difficult time.
“PALS is a program where you help kids who need almost like a buddy, and we decided as a group that this was a chance for us to help someone in our community more,” said Flores.
PALS decided to host an event called Battle for Holden, a flag football game between the League City fire department and the League City police department, to help raise money for James’ medical needs. In addition to the big game, there will be raffles, big prize giveaways, concession stands and a whole lot of support from the community.
“We wanted to have as much community outreach as we could and reach as many people as we could because we’re trying to just uplift someone in a very tough situation that really did affect a lot of people,” said Flores.
Battle for Holden will take place on Saturday, May 8 at 1 p.m. at Challenger Columbia Stadium in Webster, Texas. Tickets are $8, and the event is open to the public to attend. Proceeds will go towards supporting James and his family.
Flores hopes for a good turnout for the event, as she knows it will be a big help to James and his family.
“It’s his friends, you know? They are seeing him go through all of this, and with the support of other people, I think that it will get better,” said Flores.
For more information on the event, visit the event page.