Injured SJ football player out of coma, doing better

December 4, 2009 5:56:59 PM PST
The 16-year-old high school football player injured on Thanksgiving Day is doing better. Matt Blea suffered a head injury after being struck by another player during San Jose's "Big Bone" championship game. He is now out of a drug induced coma.

It has been a long and tough week for David Blea, his family and the entire San Jose High Academy football team. But Friday there was good news about Matt Blea's progress.

"He actually whispered, 'I love you,' to me and that was the greatest feeling," Matt's father David said.

Last week, Matt was knocked down by an opposing player. He slowly got up but eventually collapsed on the side lines.

He was quickly treated and transported to the hospital where doctors immediately realized the severity of the injury. Doctors forced him into a drug induced coma to bring down the swelling. On Wednesday evening he was taken off the ventilator.

"So yesterday really was the first full day that he was able to breathe all by himself and today he's proved himself once again being able to certainly speak to us and even joke with us," Dr. Marco Lee said.

Doctors say it is too early to say what permanent neurological damage, if any, he may end up with.

His father told reporters Matt has always beaten the odds from the moment he was born, prematurely.

"He was supposed to be in intensive care for a month, he was there for a week; he's always been told he was too small to play football, he's defied odds all the time; he only knows one way and that's fast," David Blea said.

"Young people do very well after head injuries and despite what you see on the scan and despite what you see just a week off the injury, I think he's actually made amazing progress already I would foresee him doing well in the rehabilitation setting," Lee said.

His teammates say Matt's strong will, will carry him through this ordeal.

"He'll keep going no matter what, there is nothing that can stop him, hard worker, hardest worker on the team, the most humble, definitely the most humble," teammate Richard Tallungan said.


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