High School Football Player Dies
Nov. 13, 2001
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A 17-year-old offensive lineman who was sidelined for failing a physical earlier this year died after collapsing at a high school practice.
The death of Jonathan Diaz is the fourth death related to the football team at Wilmington Banning High School in the past five months.
A defensive line coach died in June when he was crushed by heavy equipment at work. A week later, a 1998 graduate was shot at a party, a month before he was going to leave to play football at Cincinnati. A stadium announcer for more than 30 years recently died.
Diaz, a senior, lost consciousness Monday after taking part in team drills. Coaches resuscitated Diaz for a few moments after he collapsed but he lost consciousness again. He died at a hospital.
Coach Ed Lalau rode with Diaz to the hospital and informed the team of his death later in the day.
``They're not taking it so well,'' Lalau said. ``It happened right in front of them. They were shocked.''
Diaz did not participate in the team's nonleague games because he failed an initial health screening, school officials said. He was cleared to play after he was examined by a cardiologist, Lalau said.
Diaz weighed 20 pounds more this year than when he was a key player on the 2000 city championship team. The Daily Breeze reported Oct. 4 that Diaz most likely would miss the rest of this season with a heart condition.
Coaches said they knew about his health problems and did not push him during conditioning drills.
Banning will defend its city title Thursday against Dorsey High School. School officials said the team is dedicating the rest of the season to Diaz.