VIDEO/PHOTOS: Neumann fans rally behind football player injured at homecoming dance

Video from NBC-2

St. John Neumann football fans had their minds on something other than the game Friday night.

A fellow student, senior and Celtics football player remains in the hospital following an accident during the school’s homecoming dance last weekend.

Wilkins Vilcin was injured at the dance after landing on his head wrong. He was doing back flips on the dance floor.

“It was a freak accident,” said Principal Denny Denison.

Paramedics were called to take Vilcin to the hospital after the accident, which happened about 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, in the Jubilee Center at St. Ann School, 439 Ninth Ave. S. Denison said Vilcin is still at Naples Community Hospital.

“After the paramedics took him away, we prayed for him,” he said, adding the accident happened about halfway through Saturday night’s dance. “Monday, we had a prayer vigil for him here at school. And we have been praying for him ever since.”

Denison said the accident has been hard on the school community.

“We’re a small school. Everyone knows everyone,” he said.

At Friday night’s home football game against Evangelical Christian School, a collection table was set up to gather donations for the Vilcin Medicine Fund.

The fund was established Friday and donations can be made at any branch of Bank of America.

SJN assistant athletic director and head volleyball coach Chris Addeo talked about Vilcin, a senior who came to the school four years ago from Haiti, barely able to speak English.

“He taught me how to speak Creole,” Addeo reflected. “He’s a fun, happy-go-lucky kid, I guess that’s the best way to describe him. He’s holding on. We’re all praying. It’s up to God now.

Addeo also serves as the public address announcer for the Celtics games. His voice was shaking as he spoke to SJN fans and asked them to keep Vilcin in their prayers.

“On the field, seniors were introduced and escorted by family and loved ones. Vilcins’ sister, Marie, also a senior, walked on behalf of her stricken brother. Teammate Andres Alonso spoke to the crowd in the grandstands, saying, “Wilkins, things just aren’t the same. ..We miss you and hope for your return soon.”

Shannon McFee, the Celtics head girls basketball coach for many years, commented on the situation.

“Obviously everybody at St. John Neumann is feeling badly,” McFee said. “It shows how strong people feel about Wikins around here. He came here four years ago seeking a better life and that’s what he did. He’s had four of the best years with as good a friends as anybody could ask for.”

“When the accident happened, Wilkins was doing what he loved, hanging out with friends and dancing. What better memory could you have?” McFee added.

Assistant football coach and boys basketball coach John Wholihan said, “He’s a good kid. I’ve coached him four years. It’s a shame it has to happen to anyone. We keep on praying and hoping he’ll pull through. He got along with everybody. That’s what makes it all that much tougher.”

To help, contact the school at (239) 455-3044.

Daily News staff writer Kate Albers contributed to this report.

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