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Dykstra's Dad Upset by Report

Father of comatose La Verne quarterback disputes coach's comments and says son's headaches were severe.

October 24, 2002|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

Seriously injured University of La Verne quarterback Rollie Dykstra reported severe headaches and was told by a team trainer that he suffered a possible concussion in an Oct. 5 game, Dykstra's father said Wednesday.

Roland Dykstra Sr., making his first public comments since his son was hospitalized with a severe head injury after being tackled by a University of Redlands player on Saturday, said Leopard Coach Don Morel was inaccurate when he told reporters Tuesday that Rollie Dykstra had not suffered a previous concussion and that the headaches he reported were mild.

"The concussion is not a rumor," Roland Dykstra said. "My son talked to me two days after the Cal Lutheran game [Oct. 5] and complained of serious headaches, especially when he would bend down."

Roland Dykstra and Rollie's girlfriend, Jennifer Ross, said Rollie spoke with a La Verne trainer about his discomfort on Oct. 8.

"He was told he probably had suffered a slight concussion," said Ross, who resided with Dykstra near La Verne's campus.

Ross said she was unsure when the injury took place. A source close to the team said Dykstra was hit hard during the final minutes of the Cal Lutheran game and was relieved by Gabe Lujan.

Morel, head athletic trainer Jim May and La Verne spokeswoman Deborah Mandabach refused to comment.

Rollie Dykstra, a 24-year-old senior who has a 3-year-old daughter, remained in critical condition -- comatose and on life support -- at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center on Wednesday.

Roland Dykstra said he told doctors that his son suffered "a slight concussion two weeks before this."

The university canceled Saturday's scheduled game against Azusa Pacific and conducted a prayer service for Rollie Dykstra on Wednesday, but the player's father said, "I went ballistic," after reading Morel's comments.

"I don't know what's going on here, it's like the school is preparing itself for something," Roland Dykstra said. "All I'm worried about is my kid."

Morel, in his ninth season as La Verne's coach, has acknowledged that he limited his team to noncontact drills in the two weeks between the 30-6 loss at Cal Lutheran and Saturday's home game against Redlands.

Roland Dykstra contends his son was told to not practice in a helmet, "to just throw," by trainers concerned with his condition. He said trainers discouraged his request for aspirin in practices, "because it would mask the problem."

"I asked him to make sure the trainers were taking care of him," Roland Dykstra said. "I even asked him not to play in the Redlands game if he was still having [headaches].... He was a football player. He wanted to play."

Times staff writer James Lee contributed to this story.

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