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Javelin Critically Injures Athlete

May 30, 1999

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) _ A high school javelin thrower was critically injured when he was struck in the head with a javelin during warmups at the state Class 4A-3A boys and girls track and field meet Saturday.

James Phillips, 17, a junior at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, was taken to the Madigan Army Medical Center at nearby Fort Lewis, where he underwent surgery, said Lt. Ryan Laughlin, administrative officer of the day at Madigan. Phillips was listed in critical condition with a skull fracture and internal bleeding in his cranium Saturday night, Laughlin said.

Marcos Bolanos, a senior at Cascade High School in Everett, threw the javelin that struck Phillips when both were lofting short throws before the competition. After the accident, Bolanos competed in the meet and finished fourth in the javelin.

Bolanos’ teammate, Ryan Bekins, said he witnessed the accident.

``They were tossing (the javelin) back and forth and the Marysville kid (Phillips) was standing there looking back,″ Bekins said. ``Marcos said, ‘Look out’ and tossed it. Marcos saw he (Phillips) wasn’t moving so he yelled, ‘Heads up’ and it (the javelin) grazed him in the head.″

Meet manager Joe Bullock said the usual safeguards for the event were in place. Washington state requires rubber tips to be used on javelins in competition, and Bullock said the javelin that hit Phillips did have a rubber tip.

``It was just simply one of those situations where an unfortunate accident occurred,″ Bullock said.

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