Poston Butte football coach Paul Moro cut his San Clemente, Calif., camp short last week when he found out that his son Alex was discovered dead behind their Pinetop home on July 8.
Moro, who said his son committed suicide, drove straight from the California camp on July 8, a Wednesday, to be with his family.
Alex Moro, 30, who starred at quarterback for his dad at Lakeside Blue Ridge in the early 2000s, took his life after 10 years suffering from a severe nerve disorder, the intensity from which Paul equated to having “a migraine for days on end.”
Alex suffered injuries playing football for his dad. He helped lead Blue Ridge to consecutive 13-0 state championship seasons his sophomore and junior years in 2000 and 2001.
Paul Moro, the winningest active coach in the state, was given the Frank Kush Lifetime Achievement Coaching Award in March from the National Football Foundation.
Moro won 318 games and 13 state championships during his 30-year career at Blue Ridge, before leading Poston Butte to a 7-4 record and a Division II state playoff berth in his first season last year.
He is six wins away from catching former Tucson Amphitheater coach Vern Friedli (331) for the most in state history.
Moro has returned to working a little bit this week, trying to move on, as he is surrounded by what he calls “a tremendous support group.”
“Players and friends and coaches have all been there,” Moro said. “I’ve interacted with a lot of people in my lifetime.”
Moro, who leans on his Christian faith, said his son had severe chronic pain the last 10 years from football-related injuries.
“He broke some ribs that irritated the nerves,” Paul said. “We went to four or five neurologists.”
Alex wasn’t able to work because of the pain and lived with the family in Pinetop. He helped work with the quarterbacks for his dad.
Moro said his son was diagnosed with reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSDS), a rare disorder of the nervous system that resulted in “excruciating pain.”
“Nobody knows what he had to go through just to stay alive,” Moro said. “Some days, if he had a flare up of the nervous disorder, it would be like having a migraine for days on days. He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t eat. It would go away, then he’d have chronic pain.
“It’s beyond the normal person’s imagination. We always believed there was going to be a miracle. There wasn’t a miracle. It doesn’t mean God doesn’t exist. It just means God had another plan.”
Moro said his son relied on his faith and didn’t want to let his family down. Pain pills helped at times, but then the pain would worsen after a few days, Moro said.
“He just had enough,” Moro said. “He is just like me. Our beliefs are we know where we’re going. We know there’s a heaven. The only reason he stayed alive was for everyone else, not himself.”