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Vigil held for teen after concussion-related brain surgery

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A high school football player in California remains hospitalized while recovering from emergency brain surgery following a scary concussion incident during his team's game on Friday night.

According to the San Luis Obispo Tribune, KSBY.com and BallHyped, among other sources, senior Oxnard (Calif.) High safety Alex Padilla suffered a serious concussion during his team's 28-7 loss to San Luis Obispo (Calif.) High. Though Padilla was able to walk off the field following the hit on which he suffered the concussion, he reportedly collapsed shortly after reaching the sideline and was transported to a nearby hospital during the game.

Once at the hospital, doctors determined that the defensive back required brain surgery, with Padilla undergoing the procedure at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center. A hospital spokesman told the Tribune that Padilla remained in intensive care on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, those involved in the game on both sides of the ball have come together to pray for the teenager. The Tribune and KSBY both reported that dozens of San Luis Obispo football players attended a vigil for Padilla outside the Sierra Vista Center on Tuesday, a prayer-based effort led by a Fellowship of Christian Athletes chaplain who serves for many of the high school teams on the Central California coast.

"He seems like a very brave young man," FCA chaplain Luke Llamas told the Tribune. "He has a lot of spirit."

Despite what one Oxnard student described as a "somber mood" around campus, Padilla reportedly showed significant signs of improvement on Tuesday. Oxnard High Principal Eric Riegert released a statement saying that Padilla could respond to family members and answer questions with a thumbs up movement on Tuesday, while also showing response in his extremities.

Though those improvements may have been unrelated to the vigil outside, San Luis Obispo High Principal Leslie O'Connor said the efforts made by her school's student population were still "amazing and truly uplifting," according to the Tribune.

"It's important for high school athletes to understand that sometimes kids think they are invincible, and at any moment, things can change," O'Connor told KSBY.

"It is amazingly refreshing in a way to see that outpouring of support from a smaller community and it really speaks volumes for the San Luis High School community and also the community at large in San Luis."

While the good will and financial support being sent to Padilla's family from around the area help, it will serve as small substitute for Alex Padilla's health until he makes a full recovery, a factor San Luis Obispo football mother Amy Kardel -- who organized the Tuesday night vigil at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center -- was quick to point out.

"This prayer vigil is really to support the family," Kardel told KSBY. "We really as parents all love our kids and we want to show that support to someone else's family too. We are all so fragile. Danger is around every corner for our kids. As a mom we just pray for them that they're safe."

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