Julius Poppinga, a defensive end and lacrosse player at Westlake High School in Thousand Oaks, Calif., died after being hospitalized with breathing issues. The 17-year-old was the son of Brady Poppinga, who won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers.
The school announced his death on Wednesday. The Ventura County Star said he suffered an asthma attack last week that put him in the hospital, followed by a collapsed lung, before his death.
The Los Angeles Times reported he appeared in Westlake’s season opener on Aug. 18 but hadn’t played or practiced since.
Jasmine Poppinga paid tribute to her younger brother on Instagram.
“(T)aking this tragic event and looking at it in a positive way has been hard, but instead of grieving I would rather celebrate his 17 wonderful and beautiful years on this earth and all the impacts he made in my life, my families, his peers, teammates, teachers, coaches, and anyone who has ever met him,” she wrote. “julius’s caring and supportive traits have supported me throughout my whole life. i am beyond proud to be his sister and best friend.”
Brady Poppinga played in 100 NFL games (57 starts) over eight seasons, the first six in Green Bay (2005-10), followed by single-season stints with the then-St. Louis Rams and Dallas Cowboys. The 2010 Packers won the Super Bowl.