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Player Has Blood Clot Removed

Football: Chatsworth's Rodriguez, who loses consciousness in final minutes of playoff game, is in fair condition after surgery.

November 17, 2001|ERIC STEPHENS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Juan Carlos Rodriguez, a senior wide receiver at Chatsworth High, underwent surgery early Friday morning to remove a blood clot from his head and is in fair but stable condition at UCLA Medical Center.

Rodriguez was taken there by ambulance Thursday night after complaining of a headache and losing consciousness in the final minutes of the Chancellors' 41-10 City Section first-round playoff loss to Westchester. He is expected to remain in the hospital through Sunday, hospital spokesman Dan Page said.

Jose and Ivania Rodriguez, Juan's parents, said their son had never been injured in the four years he has played organized football. They said Rodriguez has never had a blood clot and there is no family history of such problems.

"Nothing," Ivania Rodriguez said. "His brother [Jose Jr.] played football. Our daughter plays volleyball. There's never been an injury."

Ivania Rodriguez expressed satisfaction in the response by medical officials at the game and in the hospital. "If you're ever in a kind of situation like this, this is the kind of care you want," she said. "They have kept us in the loop throughout every step."

Rodriguez, 5 feet 7 and 140 pounds, started all season at receiver and recently began playing defensive back, Coach Bill Coan said. Late in the game, Rodriguez came off the field and complained of a bad headache, but was alert.

"He looked right at me as [we] got another player to go in for him," Coan said.

Mike Nash, Chatsworth's athletic trainer, said Rodriguez sat on the sideline bench and began vomiting after a school nurse got him some water.

"He was getting more lethargic," Nash said. "As we were taking off his shoulder pads, he just kind of went limp. At that point, I knew he had lost consciousness."

Chatsworth Athletic Director Fluke Fluker said Terry Porter, assistant vice principal, immediately called 911.

Medical personnel placed Rodriguez on a stretcher and put him in a head restraint. Nash said Rodriguez had a regular breathing pattern and maintained a pulse throughout.

"I had a CPR mask with me," Nash said. "I was prepared for the worst."

Jose Rodriguez said his son regained consciousness on the ride to the hospital and was able to answer questions, including identifying his parents.

Ivania Rodriguez said her son was aware of the deaths that have plagued this high school season. Wilmington Banning offensive lineman Jonathan Diaz and Costa Mesa defensive end Matt Colby are among five players nationally who have died since the start of the season.

"He knew about all of them," she said. "We talked about that."

Ivania Rodriguez understood the coincidence of her son getting injured in his final high school game.

"Just six minutes away," she said. "It's a heck of a way to end the season."

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