Tragedy again: Camon, 25, dies after tackle
Barely a month after the sudden death of USF freshman football player Keeley Dorsey, the Bulls football family is coping with the unexpected loss of another well-liked player.
Javan Camon, a team captain and the leading tackler on USF's 2004 football team, died Monday night after making a tackle during a professional indoor football game in Daytona Beach. Police would not release the 25-year-old's name, pending notification of family, but multiple sources confirmed that Camon was the player involved.
A defensive player made a "severe, head-on ... one-on-one hit" with an offensive player with the Columbus (Ga.) LIons, according to Greg Grayson of the Daytona Beach Police Department. Camon lay motionless on the field and was treated immediately by emergency medical staff. CPR was administered on the field, and he was transported to Halifax Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at about 9 p.m.
Camon was only a starter for one season at USF, but he earned a reputation as a team leader and a hard hitter, leading the team with 101 total tackles in 11 games. He was the first football story I wrote when I came on the beat in 2004, and I can remember how much defensive coordinator Rick Kravitz liked Camon, how well he thought he could step up in place of J.R. Reed, who had moved on to the NFL.
As was the case with Dorsey, there's an eeriness to some of the quotes you'll find in looking back over a number of stories written about Camon. In the story I wrote about him before his senior season in 2004, he said this: "This game doesn't last forever, so we're going to go out and play our hearts out."
This wasn't the first violent collision that Camon had been involved with -- in 2004, he was wrapping up a tackle on Tennessee Tech receiver Drew Hixon when USF teammate Mike Jenkins collided with Hixon -- the play caused a traumatic brain injury that left Hixon in a drug-induced coma for two months. Hixon has made a remarkable recovery since, but the aftermath of the play left an impact on Camon. In October, when the Washington Post wrote a story detailing Hixon's recovery, Camon had this to say: "I didn't want to be as aggressive, because now I knew how many bad things could happen from a good hit."
Sad, sad news, especially for a program still coping with another tragedy within their own ranks. Looking at Javan's page at Myspace.com, I remember the little things -- the big smile, the dreadlocks, him liking Lil' Wayne. Like Dorsey, he had an appreciation for life and a respect for his own mortality you don't normally find in someone so young. His Myspace survey asks his "thoughts first waking up," and his response is "Thank U, for blessing me with another day." He was a funny kid -- the survey asks if he swears, and his response is "(f-word), no." Asked for the ideal weight in the opposite sex, he answered "Lighter than me." He liked to sing, wanted to get married someday, all things you don't want to read about someone who is dead at 25 years old. "Number of things in my past that I regret?" it asks ... He answers "A couple, but everything happens for a reason, I guess."
I'm sure we'll have a lot more about Camon in the next few days, and I'll come back to the women's basketball team's big win tonight sometime Tuesday or Wednesday -- just doesn't seem appropriate right now. If you have memories of Camon, or other thoughts or questions, as always, drop a comment here or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.