Clovis News

Clovis North football player critically hurt

A Clovis North High student remained in critical condition Friday night with a head injury suffered during a junior varsity football game Thursday against Central.

John Lara, a sophomore defensive back, collapsed on the field with a few minutes remaining in the Tri-River Athletic Conference game at Buchanan's Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The 16-year-old underwent brain surgery Thursday night at Community Regional Medical Center. His prognosis for recovery is uncertain, Clovis North Principal Norm Anderson said Friday afternoon.

Clovis North coaches could not be reached Friday to comment. A page at CaringBridge.org, a website devoted to letting families share information when a family member is seriously ill or injured, reported Friday evening that Lara had crossed his legs and tried to open his left eye, but that he remained in a coma.

Anderson said, "We're a close-knit family here at Clovis North, and we're very concerned with John's prognosis. We let our staff and students know [Friday morning] that he's in very, very serious condition. Many of our students took it very hard."

Anderson said that nine psychologists from Clovis Unified School District were brought to the Clovis North Educational Center to talk to students and teachers in need of support.

The campus houses seventh- through 12th-graders. Lara has been a student there since eighth grade.

In addition, moments of silence in his honor were observed Friday night before district varsity football games between Clovis West and Clovis East at Lamonica Stadium and Buchanan and Clovis at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Lara collapsed near the middle of the field by the east end zone away from a play that finished on the sideline.

"We are uncertain what precipitated his collapse, and an investigation is under way into the incident," Anderson said.

He said district officials are watching game films to see whether he was hurt during the play or on a previous play.

Lara was examined immediately on the field by certified trainers, then ambulance personnel before being transported to Community Regional Medical Center.

Anderson said the ambulance already had been parked adjacent to the facility, which, he said, is routine procedure for all district JV and varsity games.

Witnesses on the field said Lara vomited and was complaining of head discomfort.

Anderson said Lara had played the whole game.

"John's one of those very tenacious little players who always wanted to play football," he said. "His family told me he lives and breathes football, loves the game and everything about it."

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