Family and friends remember Manny Castillo
Published Tuesday, May 15, 2007 5:16PM EDT
Hundreds of heartbroken teammates, classmates, friends and family gathered at a church in Mississauga on Tuesday to say goodbye to a teenage rugby player who died from an injury during a recent game.
Manny Castillo, 15, was remembered at St. Christopher's Catholic Church in Mississauga.
Teammates wearing black armbands painted with Castillo's number 54 were among pallbearers who carried the casket of the popular and well-liked Grade 10 student.
Other teammates wore jerseys and friends wore the team's colours as a tribute to their friend.
Castillo was buried with a football signed by his teammates.
His mother broke down in the arms of her husband as the priest gave the final blessing.
Castillo suffered a serious head injury in the final seconds of a school rugby match on Wednesday. He never regained consciousness and died on Friday at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children.
During a visitation at the Neweduk Funeral Home Monday night, tears flowed as people remembered Castillo.
His grieving father paid tribute to Manny's many classmates.
"All you guys are amazing," Castillo's father Manuel said. "All the parents should be proud of all of you."
Manuel also thanked the community for their heartfelt support.
Castillo's mother Cecilia clutched her surviving son Oscar as she kissed her son goodbye.
The young athlete was dressed in the jersey of his Lorne Park Secondary School's Spartans rugby team.
Over the weekend a steady stream of students, parents and strangers also dropped by a makeshift memorial on the playing field at Manny's school. The field was littered with Spartans jerseys, flowers, candles and notes.
Manuel visited the field on Saturday and said he was moved by the outpouring of support and grief for his son.
Castillo's family donated their eldest son's organs and said they were taking comfort from the fact that several people will benefit from the gift.
Police charged a 16-year-old player from Erindale Secondary School with aggravated assault as a result of the injuries Castillo sustained. Police have not ruled out upgrading the charges against the teen, who cannot be identified under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Castillo's uncle said last week that the family did not want charges laid against the youth involved.
Another uncle read a statement from the family saying they never spoke to police about dropping charges.
"They want to set the record straight and state categorically that they had never talked to the police about dropping the charges during the investigation," Jaan Schaer said outside the church.
"They believe that it is a matter for the laws of this country and when they embrace the culture and essence of Canada, they also respect and abide by these laws."
The family also said through Schaer that their prayers are with the family of the rival team's player.
With a report from CTV's Austin Delaney and files from The Canadian Press