James Ackerman: The good bloke who touched so many
SCHOOL principals, newsreaders, teammates, relatives, coaches and friends.
James Ackerman touched the lives of them all, that was clear, as the Coast's rugby league community mourned the loss of an unbelievably good bloke.
Ackerman, 25, passed away in the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital early yesterday afternoon, having failed to regain consciousness after a sickening incident during the Sunshine Coast Falcons' clash with Norths at Nundah on Saturday.
The father-of-two was believed to have been running the ball when he suffered a serious head injury during a tackle early in the match.
His death had left former teammates and schoolmates seeking solace yesterday afternoon, as they struggled to come to grips with the loss of a quietly spoken but incredibly admired mate.
"James Ackerman a true champion, a bloke who was impossible not to like! Tough and honest I'm gonna miss you mate. R.I.P legend," Falcons' teammate Callum Klein posted on Facebook.
"Tough. Honest. Loyal. Humble. Unfazed. These are the words that described James Ackerman. Rest In Peace champion, you will never be forgotten. I will continue to play in your spirit, and when the tough times come, I'll know you'll be there," Falcons' hooker Jay Lobwein wrote.
Caloundra Sharks coach Glenn Irwin recalled a humble young man he watched as a Caloundra junior growing up with his son.
"He wouldn't have any enemies and being an organ donor, I'd love to be the one that gets his heart because it was huge, he was the nicest kid from a really great footy family," Irwin said.
"He was just a clean-cut, really good kid.
"He was the tough one too, the boys all looked up to him if they were playing Maroochydore."
A former Mountain Creek State High School student, Ackerman shifted home to help the Falcons rebuild, having played a number of seasons with the Redcliffe Dolphins.
"He's gone on to do what he loves ... and we just hope and pray his family pulls through this difficult time," Mountain Creek SHS principal Cheryl McMahon said.
Tributes for the father-of-two flowed yesterday, from NRL clubs to federal politicians, as his devastated family remembered a father, son and brother, while praising the efforts of medical staff.
"James loved the game of rugby league. He always played the game with his heart on his sleeve. We will miss you!" the Ackerman family said.
Falcons' chairman Ashley Robinson said the thoughts and prayers of the club were with James' family, and encouraged those affected to seek help from the Falcons.
HOW TO HELP
James Ackerman Trust Fund can be donated to with deposits made at:
Butler McDermott Lawyers Trust Account
Bank of Queensland, 255 Queen St, Brisbane
BSB: 124 001
Acc No: 1150 0777
Ref No: 151 181