The Westlake High School community is grappling with the loss of 17-year-old Julius Poppinga, a varsity football player and son of former NFL linebacker and Super Bowl champion Brady Poppinga. The school’s principal, Jason Branham, confirmed the tragic news to the school community via email on Wednesday.
Julius, a junior at the Thousand Oaks-based school, was hospitalized following a severe asthma attack last week. During his hospital stay, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound lineman suffered a collapsed lung from which he did not recover. His death was reported on Wednesday.
Julius’ sister, Jasmine Poppinga, took to Instagram to express her grief and remember her brother. She described Julius as a person filled with love, kindness, compassion, humor, athleticism, knowledge, trustworthiness, consideration for others, sincerity, loyalty, and friendliness.
In a show of solidarity, friends, and students gathered at the high school on Wednesday night to support the Poppinga family. The school is set to host a game against rival high school Thousand Oaks on Friday, but it remains unclear if the game will proceed as scheduled.
Brady Poppinga, Julius’ father, is a retired NFL player who spent six of his eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers, contributing to their 2011 Super Bowl victory.
Julius Poppinga, the son of Brady Poppinga, a retired NFL star, succumbed to a severe asthma attack. The 17-year-old high school football player had been hospitalized following the attack. His death was confirmed by family members on social media this week.
Jasmine Poppinga, Julius’ older sister, paid tribute to her brother on Wednesday, describing him as the best younger brother she could ever ask for and an amazing older brother to her younger sisters. She also shared images of tributes made by Westlake High School in recent days, including a memorial with flowers and a photo of the football field’s scoreboard displaying “Julius” and “Poppinga” in place of the home and away team names, along with his number illuminated in lights.
Julius was one of three children of Brady and his wife Brooke Hubbard. Brady, 43, played in the NFL from 2005 until 2012, winning a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers in 2010 before joining the St. Louis Rams and finishing his career with the Dallas Cowboys.
The high school football team posted a tribute to Julius on social media, expressing that he was a beloved member of the team and would be greatly missed by the entire tribe.