An event that was expected to serve as a capstone of unadulterated joy — a high school graduation — was instead tinged with sadness when a former football player weeks away from attending college on a football scholarship was paralyzed from the chest down following a tragic accident in a swimming pool.
As reported by the San Jose Mercury News, San Ramon Valley football star Jake Javier was paralyzed when he fell into a pool at a friend’s house. He was quickly airlifted to a nearby medical center, where he underwent emergency surgery.
“He, for sure, is not going to walk again, but we do hope that — once he is awake and over time — he will regain use of his hands,” Javier’s aunt, Diane Blardony, told the Mercury News. “The football team has been here supporting him and staying late.”
Javier signed a letter of intent to play college football at Cal Poly and was expected to be on campus in the weeks ahead. A friend collected his high school diploma at graduation ceremonies.
The surreal timing of the tragedy left the school triaging students between graduating walk-throughs and counseling sessions when they were needed. The football program and the broader community quickly rallied behind the teen and his family to help raise funds for his medical expenses, with a GoFundMe page raising more than $130,000 for the family.
That money should help the family pay some of the significant expenses from his injuries, but can’t help Javier regain more of his mobility. For now, the entire San Ramon Valley community will continue to pray and hope for as swift and complete a recovery as possible.