DOWNEY (CBSLA.com) — A Downey High School football player was in critical condition Friday after collapsing during a game in Lynwood.
Los Angeles County firefighters responded to a possible cardiac arrest call just before 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Lynwood High School, 4050 E. Imperial Highway.
Dodi Soza, 16, a junior wide receiver, was running towards a touchdown when he collapsed on the field.
Freshman football player Evan Vasquez said Soza was not tackled or hit immediately before he fell to the ground.
“We were running a play action pass, and he ran a slant, we passed to him because he was really open so he was on his way to a touchdown and then he collapsed,” he said.
Fellow players initially assumed Soza was struggling with his well-known asthma, according to Vasquez.
Soza was transported to St. Francis Medical Center and then transferred to Long Beach Memorial Hospital for more intensive care, KNX1070’s Pete Demetriou reports.
Downey High School’s newspaper tweeted the following Thursday night:
#PrayForDodi was trending on Twitter overnight as people shared their support on the social media site.
“We actually have our school psychologists, extra counselors and support from surrounding schools,” Dr. Robert Jagielski said.
Downey High School officials held Friday night’s varsity football game as planned in order to retain a “sense of normalcy,” Jagielski said. In a show of support for the teen, students and players wore white T-shirts and stickers with Soza’s initials, “DS”.
“We were not expecting that. Especially a really nice guy like him. We let him know that we are with him, ” classmate David Alcantara said.
Lynwood Unified School District Superintendent Paul Gothold released the following statement:
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Downey High School student who collapsed during the Lynwood High School freshman football game this afternoon, and his family. Following his collapse, our team followed emergency protocol and immediately called the appropriate authorities to respond. At this time we do not have further information on the student involved or his condition.”
It remains unclear what caused Soza’s collapse.