THE lion-hearted young footballer who died after an on-field accident could save up to 10 lives through organ donation.
Young father James Ackerman died yesterday, with the family and friends of the Sunshine Coast Falcons player now being comforted by the fact his death will give new life to those in dire need.
Ackerman, or Ackers as he was known to his mates, was fatally injured while playing against the Norths Devils on Saturday.
Witnesses say while the collision between Ackerman and Francis Molo was fierce, there was no malice in the tackle and it was simply a rugby league play gone wrong.
Sources have told The Courier-Mail that Ackerman’s organs and tissue will now go to help save seriously ill patients through the organ donation program.
In a statement, Ackerman’s family - including wife Saraa, children Olliver and Milly, parents Michael and Sonya Ackerman, and brothers Andrew and Thomas - thanked friends who had rallied in to support them. “James loved the game of rugby league, he always played the game with his heart on his sleeve. We will miss you,” they wrote.
Friends and family are now remembering the 25-year-old as a champion bloke who led through actions not words.”
In an online flood of support, Broc Wright said he was “absolutely gutted” for his friend’s family.
“Top bloke gone way too soon. Champion on the field, at work and in life,” he wrote.
Sunshine Coast Falcons chief executive officer Chris Flannery said James was a “champion guy” and “one of our leaders”.
“He was a tough competitor and a fine player who in many ways was the heart and soul of our team,” Flannery said.