Sometimes it's the most innocuous hits that are the scariest in football.
Nobody knows exactly which hit put Los Banos High senior Joseph Vera in the hospital Friday night they just know that he complained to his teammates of head pain on the sideline at Manteca High, then passed out near the end of the second quarter, just after teammate Chris Corpuz ran for a 5-yard touchdown.
After surgery at Doctors Medical Center Friday night to relieve pressure on his brain, Vera is awake and alert, and remembers details from Friday night, according to LBHS football coach Dustin Caropreso. Following surgery, Vera was put into an induced coma to lessen the risk of further damage through movement.
"His dad said they were going to wake him up tomorrow," Caropreso said Saturday afternoon. "I just got a call, and they said he woke up himself. He was writing stuff down, because they still had a breathing tube in."
Caropreso also heard from the team's trainer, Buzz Rolicheck, who visited Saturday and reported one of the first things Vera asked was who won the game.
Los Banos did win, 42-24 over host Manteca, without knowing about Vera's condition. All the players knew was that he was still unconscious when he was driven off in an ambulance 25 minutes after he collapsed.
"When one of your players gets taken off in an ambulance, it's tough not knowing what's going on," Caropreso said. "I'm sure what's going through a lot of kids minds is, 'What's going on here?' They did a good job of keeping composure in a crisis situation, which is tough to do."
Vera, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound defensive lineman, recorded three tackles through the Tigers' first two games.
Modesto Bee Sports Editor James Burns contributed to this report