Community rallies for injured SJ football player

December 6, 2009 5:32:33 PM PST
The family of a San Jose high school football player seriously injured on the field got some big help Saturday.

Matthew Blea has been at Kaiser Hospital since getting injured on Thanksgiving day. His condition is slowly improving. He is now in a normal hospital room, but doctors are keeping a very close eye on him. In the meantime, yhe community is also showing its support. San Jose High Academy's bake sale has never been as busy as it was Saturday. That is because Saturday's fundraiser was for Matthew Blea.

The 16-year-old is still hospitalized because of a play during a Thanksgiving Day football game. Matthew was running to catch a pass when an opposing player knocked him down. He slowly got up, staggered, then collapsed on the side lines.

"I never seen him like that because he's a strong guy and he's taken harder hits than that," said teammate Ismael Salazar. "And, just to see him go down like that and for that to happen, it was just surprising."

The hit caused a blood clot in Matthew's brain. He was released from the intensive care unit Saturday and is finally able to breathe on his own.

"He's a special kid," said Matthew's father Dave Blea. "Matthew, he makes me proud."

He is a teenager who has been embraced by this community. 50 people volunteered to bake for Saturday's sale. Organizers hoped to raise $1,000 for the Blea family.

"It's been over whelming, amazing, all the prayers, all the concerns and just the actual, the care... I know our son and our family feels it, said Dave Blea. "I just needed to be here."

Matthew's aunt took pictures of the event and immediately emailed them to him so he could see just how much people, even strangers, care.

"I felt really sorry for him and the family," said parent Maria Dias. "I know what they're going through and it's a very hard time especially around the holidays."

"It's all for Matthew's family. It's a very hard time so we just decided this would be an awesome thing to do to support his family," one volunteer told other parents Saturday.

Matthew is in serious but stable condition. His family says they expect his road to recovery to be a very long one.


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