After leading their high school’s junior varsity football team to victory Friday, two California teens suddenly collapsed and were admitted to the hospital with head injuries. The Sacramento Bee reported that students said some of the players may have taken the prescription stimulant Adderall.
The hospitalized students, sophomores Nick Brown and Justin Schwartz, attend Union Mine High School in El Dorado, Calif.
The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office is examining whether drugs were involved and made an arrest Monday morning of an unidentified 17-year-old male Union Mine student who allegedly provided classmates with Adderall. The student was taken to Dorado County Juvenile Hall.
According to The Sacramento Bee, law enforcement officials said they had not established a link between the suspect and the two football players.
A Facebook page for Brown said Tuesday that the 15-year-old had shown “small signs of his will to fight.”
“His doctor has stated that Nick is young and is in excellent health which will be key in his journey towards recovery,” the Facebook post said. “However, this journey could last weeks, months or longer. There is no clear indication of a time frame at present.”
According to the Sutter Roseville Medical Center, Brown remains in critical condition in intensive care. He had brain surgery Friday night after a high-impact blow to the head that caused a subdural brain bleed.
Schwartz was taken to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center before being released home for recovery. He suffered a concussion and a nerve injury to his neck, school officials said.
Adderall, a combination of the stimulant drugs amphetamine and dextroamphetamine is primarily used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It increases blood pressure and heart rate, but it’s unclear whether either boy was prescribed the drug or even took the drug, and, if so, whether it was a primary contributor to the concussions.
Concussions are not uncommon in contact sports like football, lacrosse and soccer. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention, 47 percent of high school football players are diagnosed with concussion every season, but that number is likely higher due to underreporting.
In the El Dorado cases, the sheriff’s office and school district’s investigations are ongoing.