Remembering Kenney Bui: Family grieves loss of son who died after high school football injury

SEATTLE -- For the first time, we are hearing from the brother of a football player who died this week after a game. Kenney Bui’s brother stood feet away when his brother went down after a head injury.

Inside the Van Hoa Buddhist Temple in White Center, the Bui family seeks peace.

“Very hard for me and my wife and my son because right now we had four people in the family and now one person in the family’s gone,” said  Ngon Bui, Kenney Bui’s father.

While the family is grieving, they insist the 17-year-old died doing what he loved.

“He loved football,” said Kirby Bui, Kenney’s younger brother. “He thought of football as his second family. He thought of Evergreen has his second family. He loved it.”

Kirby Bui doesn’t play football like his brother did, but he was on the field Friday night, getting water for the team.

“The last time I talked to him was during halftime,” said Kirby Bui. “He said I’m ready for this. I’m ready to win this game. I’m ready to try better. I saw that he was ready. He said he didn’t care if he would win or lose that he just wanted to play the game.”

The last words he’d hear from his brother before watching him go down after what seemed like a routine play on the field.

“He kept pointing at his head,” said Kirby Bui. “Some of my friends on the sidelines were like Kenney sit down, sit down and he kept saying no, I’m good and then he was stumbling, and then he fainted right there.”

As Kenney fought for his life at Harborview, in the room next door, David Young from Adna did the same. He broke his neck during his football game. While Kenney died Sunday, David got to go home Wednesday but not without a sense of guilt.

“I couldn't imagine being in their situation,” said David Young. “It sucks enough having a broken neck. I couldn't imagine passing away because of it.”

But the Bui’s say they’re happy David Young is home.

“I know you feel sorry for me, but right now I feel sorry to you,” Ngon Bui said addressing David Young. “Hope you do well and go back to school.”

Even in their pain, they believe Kenney is in a better place too.

“I love him, we all love him and that it’s never goodbye no matter what,” said Kirby Bui.

Funeral services for Kenney Bui have been set for Friday and Saturday.

A prayer service will begin at 10 am Friday at:

Columbia Funeral Home & Crematory
4567 Rainier Avenue South
Seattle, WA

The public is welcome.