Battle Creek Central High School student athlete Bladimir Patino was not just a soccer player — he was a leader.
Those close to him say “Blady” Patino was a “lightning-rod type” of leader who had an unrivaled passion, and a good student who would always try to help others. He was a jokester who always brought smiles to people’s faces and a student-athlete even respected by opposing teams.
This week, the Battle Creek Public Schools community is mourning the loss of Patino, who was declared brain-dead after a Monday traffic crash.
Patino, 17, a Central senior and varsity soccer player, remained at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo on life support Wednesday after he was declared brain-dead, hospital spokeswoman Carolyn Wyllie said. His family will donate his organs.
Battle Creek police say a collision at 5:44 p.m. Monday injured both Patino and recent Central graduate Ricardo Segovia-Gonzalez, 17. Segovia-Gonzalez was listed in good condition Wednesday.
Both students were injured when a car driven by Patino failed to stop at a stop sign at River and Clark roads and collided with a pickup truck, police said.
The driver of the pickup, Ethan Berry, 37, of Vermontville, was northbound on Clark Road while Patino was heading west on River Road. Berry was not injured.
On Wednesday, BCPS provided grief counselors to students and their families who needed support. Director of Secondary Education Deborah Nuzzi said counselors will be available all week.
Nuzzi said Patino was a very important part of Central’s varsity soccer team not just because of his skills, but because he was a “superior student.”
“He was a student-athlete first, not just an athlete,” Nuzzi said Wednesday. “And he was very careful to share guidance with students to remind them why they were there, to remind them to do the right things and to be a good person. Blady really had an influence not only on the soccer students, but the rest of the students at Battle Creek Central as well as the teaching staff.”