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Orange County

Autopsy Scheduled for Football Player

Death: Recipients have been found for the Costa Mesa athlete's organs.

October 01, 2001|DAN ARRITT | TIMES STAFF WRITER

An autopsy was expected to be completed today on Costa Mesa High football player Matt Colby, who suffered a fatal brain injury during a game Friday night, according to the Orange County coroner's office.

Matt, 17, collapsed on the sideline after leaving the game in the first quarter against Ocean View High in Huntington Beach. He never regained consciousness. Matt was taken by ambulance from Westminster High to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where a CT scan revealed no sign of brain activity.

He was pronounced dead by a hospital neurologist at 10:35 a.m. Saturday, then remained on life support for about 24 hours until his organs could be harvested for transplantation, said Matt's uncle, Deron Colby. Colby said recipients have been found for each of his nephew's organs, and that one patient will receive several of them.

"A negative has turned into some positive things,' said his uncle, who said the family hopes to learn more about the recipients.

Matt, a 6-foot, 185-pound defensive end, appeared to have suffered the injury during a kickoff four minutes into the game. He remained in the game for a few plays on defense before exiting the field on his own, complaining that his head hurt. He also told a trainer that he felt tingling in his head and legs. Shortly afterward, he lost consciousness.

Matt's mother, Kelli, said in a statement issued Saturday that paramedics were able to briefly restart Matt's heart and breathing, but he remained unresponsive, and tests ultimately revealed he was brain-dead.

Costa Mesa Coach Dave Perkins, who coached Matt at Costa Mesa's Estancia High the previous two seasons, said the only previous physical problem Matt had was on Sept. 15, when he said Matt had complained of a headache after a game against Westminster.

In addition to his mother, Matt is survived by three uncles--Deron, Pat and David Colby--and grandparents Mike and Marti Colby. Funeral arrangements are pending.

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