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Water Polo Star Toring Hit by Bus, Comatose

Simi Valley native, competing with U.S. national team, remains in Paris hospital after suffering head injury in accident.


Jim Toring, a former UCLA and Harvard-Westlake High water polo star, is in a coma at a Paris hospital after being struck by a bus while competing in a tournament for the U.S. national team.

Toring's blood pressure, pulse and breathing were stable Wednesday, a spokesperson for the U.S. team said.

Doctors have performed surgery to drain fluid from his skull and relieve pressure from cranial swelling. He has been heavily sedated to prevent him from becoming agitated, said Bruce Wigo, executive director of U.S. water polo.

The U.S. team had just finished competition in the French Open and was scheduled to leave Paris on Monday. The accident occurred early Monday morning when Toring, walking with several teammates, stepped from behind a parked bus and into the path of an oncoming bus. He reportedly was thrown 30 feet and suffered severe trauma to his head.

Dr. Robert Jones, U.S. team physician, has stayed with Toring along with Barbara Kalbus, head of the U.S. delegation, and Coach John Vargas.

He was taken to a hospital emergency room, then transferred to Hospital Beaujon, a neurology teaching hospital in Clichy.

Toring has sinus and orbital fractures and is heavily sedated in an attempt to allow his injuries to heal, said Rich Corso, a family friend and Toring's former high school coach.

Corso said there has been movement in Toring's hands and arms.

"In six to eight days they will gradually bring him out of [the coma] and see how he is," said Corso, who said he has been in contact with Sandy Toring, Jim's mother.

Corso, who was coach of the U.S. national team until the conclusion of the 1996 Olympics, said Sandy Toring is holding up well.

"The family is real tough," he said. "They've faced adversity before."

Hank Toring, Jim's father, arrived in Paris on Tuesday. Sandy Toring was flying in Wednesday.

"Even though Jim is in an unconscious state right now, I've got to believe he's fighting to come back," Corso said. "That's the way he was as a player."

Toring is Harvard-Westlake's only four-time All-American in water polo.

As a senior, he was Southern Section player of the year, leading the Wolverines to a section title.

He played for UCLA from 1993-96, and was most valuable player of the NCAA tournament in 1995 and '96 when the Bruins won national championships.

He recently returned to the U.S. national team after recovering from a broken jaw.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with him," UCLA Coach Guy Baker said.

Many friends and former teammates have been calling the Torings' Simi Valley home to offer support.

"It's been awesome the love and support and prayers of people," said Carole VanCura, Toring's aunt.

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