Bob Ladouceur is one of the most well-known names in prep sports. He finally stepped down from his legendary football head coaching career at De La Salle in Concord, Calif. two years ago (he’s now an assistant coach), but he hasn’t abandoned the prep football scene in his home state.
Now he’s speaking out to try and encourage others to help one of Northern California’s former football players when he needs it.
As reported by the San Jose Mercury News, Ladouceur wrote a public letter to promote a fundraiser for Jake Javier of San Ramon Valley High who was paralyzed in an accident at a pool party just months before he was to play football at Cal Poly.
Writing to benefit the Javi Strong Foundation, Ladouceur called on all football fans in the area to attend and support a fundraiser that will help defray the costs that the Javier family has incurred due to their son’s injury.
Dear Eastbay footballers and friends,
A little over one year ago, a devastating injury happened to San Ramon High School senior, Jake Javier at a graduation pool party. He dove into a pool, hitting his head at the bottom, fracturing his neck and rendering himself paralyzed from the chest down. While at San Ramon High, Jake was an outstanding student, football player, and friend to all. Jake was destined to continue his education and athletic career at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo last fall, but needless to say those plans changed. Here is the reason I am writing you.
My name is Bob Ladouceur. I was the head football coach at De La Salle High School from 1979 -2012. I am currently an assistant coach and continue teaching. I am also a San Ramon High School alumnus, class of ‘72. While I was Head Coach, I always feared that one of my players might suffer a serious injury, much like Jake did. As football coaches, we always try our best to keep our students out of harm’s way, however, it never takes away the worry and concern. We justify participation by weighing the chances of such an injury, against the rewards of participating in the sport we love. Even though Jake didn’t receive his injury on the football field, it doesn’t detract from the fact that one of our own bright, talented, and promising students needs your help and involvement. Since Jake’s injury, I couldn’t get him out of my mind, nor did I want to. I didn’t know how I could help. It wasn’t until I read an article about Jake in the March edition of Diablo magazine, that I felt we could make a big difference in Jake’s future. I wanted to do it by mobilizing the East Bay football players and coaches–the people who knew him, competed against him, heard of him, and love him. Since that time, I’ve met with Jake and his parents, Jim and Isabelle. Jake is a remarkable young man. Please read the Diablo magazine article on him–it’s outstanding. Jake is optimistic, determined, and motivated to make a difference in his and other’s’ lives as he goes forward. Through our participation, we will all be making an investment in Jake’s future. Rest assured that if Jake’s injury happened to the student that is sending this letter to you, we would be doing the same thing for him.
The coaches and community that evolve to make this fundraiser happen are Steve Jacoby from eteamsponsor, Aaron Becker from San Ramon High School, Matt Russi from Monte Vista High School, Eric Billeci from California High School, Kevin Hartwig from Freedom High School, and Justin Alumbaugh from De La Salle High School. We will all celebrate Jake with an event on Saturday, August 5th at 5 p.m. at San Ramon Valley High School football field with a Day of Games! SRV, Monte Vista, Freedom High, Cal High & DLS football teams will come together to compete in various games. Teams will consist of players from each team to show their commitment to come together for Jake and his family. It will be the first time these football teams will come together for a united cause. We couldn’t think of anyone more deserving than Jake Javier and his family. Please help us with this worthwhile project.
It’s incredibly rare for Ladouceur to get involved in any kind of campaign to drive awareness or advocacy. This is certainly a worthwhile effort, and his voice should add to the unified support around the region for Javier and his family.