Another prep football player dies days after on-field collapse, 5th in one month

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

On Saturday, Downey High (Downey, Cal.) 16-year-old Dodi Soza died. Soza was a junior varsity football player at the school and collapsed in the process of running to the end zone on Thursday when he collapsed and could not be resuscitated. The teen allegedly collapsed on the field mid-run as he barreled toward the end zone.

According to numerous news sources, including Los Angeles TV network KTLA, Soza was transported to St. Francis Medical Center from Lynnwood High (Lynwood, Cal.), where the junior varsity game was hosted. From St. Francis he was later transferred to Long Beach Memorial Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

The entire community has been quick to mourn the junior's passing, with a candlelight vigil held in Downey and the town's mayor, Mario Guerra, tweeting on to ask all to keep the Soza family in their thoughts.

"Our community mourns the passing of one of own today. DHS football player Dodi Soza. Our broken hearts are with his family. God bless him," Guerra tweeted on Saturday shortly after Soza's death was confirmed by Memorial Hospital.

Soza's death is just the latest tragedy in a month of sadness throughout prep football. According to MaxPreps, the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research determined that there were 25 deaths among high school football players between 2003 and 2012 to which on-field incidents contributed. There were five between September 13 and October 13 of 2013 alone.

There's no clear medical rationale for the sudden onset of higher death tolls in the span of a single month. It's entirely possible that the increase is due to random chance rather than an organized shift in any injury factors in competition or equipment.

Regardless, the loss of five young athletes in their teenage years in such a short span is troubling. At the very least, it isn't helping the concerns about violence in football that have begun to prevail in recent years.

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