Issac Verduzco, a standout freshmen boys football player, from Yakima, Washington dreams about being as good of a player as former AC Davis and EWU star receiver Cooper Kupp. Verduzco’s brother David who played with Kupp has instilled in the freshmen what it takes to be great. Like “Coop” the young running back is gifted physically and according to his brother has developed the mentality to emulate Kupp.
“I have told him stories about how hard Cooper works. If he had a bad week or a bad season Kupp would work non-stop until he perfected his game. The guy has the X-factor and the success he has had comes from inside,” said David. “Isaac listens to me and knows we come from the same valley as Cooper. Now he sees him (Cooper) in the NFL and has used that to become a very hard worker.”
This discussion we had tonight, David and I, by telephone as he sat by his brother’s side at Harborview Medical Center.
In an almost surreal 45 minutes, David and I spoke about his brother on the phone as we both watched Kupp post his best game ever for the Los Angeles Rams racking up 162 yards and 2 Td’s to propel the boys from LA to their first 4-0 season start in many years.
Issac was there too but is in such bad condition there is no way to know for sure how much of the gain he took in.
Isaac you see is laying in a trauma room recovering from a craniectomy. That is a complex way to say that his skull was cut open and piece removed to relieve the pressure of a near-deadly brain bleed. Last Friday he was playing in a Freshmen game and went down on the turf suffering blackout and then seizures. His brother knew it was bad but like most football insiders he did not know how severe it was. Isaac had 8 seizures according to David and was eventually transferred to the local hospital who quickly understood this was a brain bleed and that young Isaac only had minutes to live. Lifeflight was called and a few hours later he was lying in Harborview where the removal of a piece of his right skull plate relieved enough pressure to save his life. The doctors indicated that time was running out when he was brought in. It was a very close call.
Isaac is stable and under constant care. Like most Traumatic Brain Injuries this one has left Isaac in a fragile state with loss of motor skills, memory, and much of his faculties. As we spoke the worry and concern in his brother’s voice was apparent. The boy’s mother is struggling and fraught with fear as any Mother would be.
This is not the first time I have had to cover such stories, but it is necessary for me to do so. In the recent past this potentially deadly injury known as Second-Impact Syndrome has killed several boys we have known and permanently changed the lives of several others including Matthew Newman (Yakima), Bobby Clark (Priest River), Max Conradt (Coos Bay), Zack Lystedt (Tahoma), and Angel Oros (Pateros). It was in fact 9 years ago almost to the day that we lost Drew Swank (Valley Christian) who died after a similar blow that he suffered on the field in Washtucna, Washington. Drew did survive until Monday but the critical care came too late. You can read more about these amazing NW boys and this injury here.
What we know about Issac is that he played in week 1 and after the game was sweating, having headaches, and was throwing up. His brother knew something was wrong and he was taken into the hospital. Diagnosed with a severe concussion Isaac took a few days off and returned to school but was held out for weeks 2 and 3 and was cleared by the team’s trainer to play in week 4. It appears from the medical findings so far, according to David, that he must have had a small brain bleed in week 1 that had not repaired itself which was not caught. This led to the tragedy last Friday night. A lot of things went on and there are many questions but right now the family, and David, are standing vigil over their loved one.
Enter Cooper Kupp. On Monday, September 24th, 2018, despite all that this rising superstar has to do he took time out to ask for support from anyone who could help donate money to the Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for the Verduzco family. In the tweet is dedicating a Jersey to a randomly selected donator. The offer stands and after tonight’s game, the value and importance of that jersey just went way up!
Please help me raise funds for the Verduzco Family via their Go Fund Me page. Any support you can provide is much appreciated. Anyone who donates will be eligible to receive a signed Rams jersey from me. Thank you for your consideration Rams Family! https://t.co/cKVVsn13ly pic.twitter.com/Hfm9yCPzjm
— Cooper Kupp (@CooperKupp) September 24, 2018
This is a great thing Cooper is doing even though he does not know this whole story. He will no doubt continue to show concern for Isaac as we all should. NWPR is donating $100 tonight and working with our group at Brain Champions to bring other needed support to the family. The Total as of right now is $10,100 dollars so we are donating and taking to social media to ask for your help to get the donations to $25,000.
This injury is going to last a long time. This is not a broken arm or leg. This is something Isaac needs to get through the next few weeks just to become stable. It will be a life changer. He and his family will be tested in ways they have never dreamed. But based on the conviction and strength I heard in his brother’s voice tonight Isaac is going to have a great shot. I assure you all of this; his life will never be the way it was and there is little chance he will be able to go after the dream he has come to embrace.
Tonight Cooper Kupp is on the pinnacle of all of football. His work and efforts are a shining example that success does come to those that work tirelessly. He is the story of the local boy that did good and who football rewarded. Isaac is tonight paying the ultimate price for playing the game. He will not be able to chase those rewards. A stark contrast in the tale of two young men from the Yakima Valley.
God has a purpose for us all. Some are meant to catch footballs and to survive while doing it. Others like Bobby Clark, who has survived this same injury, are meant to be the most loving Uncle in the world to his niece even if he struggles to rise each day. Matthew Newman survived and he is working on finding a career 9 years after his fall on the field in Cowiche. The former QB watches football and looks for others who need his help, often calling me like he did today to see what our group can do. He and I are working on a plan that may involve Coop if we can work it out. My purpose, on occasion, is to share with you all these stories about football and life. Even if we want to look away we must acknowledge that these things happen to those playing our game. If we do not rally together and embrace these terrible injuries we will surely be the lesser for it.
Tonight Isaac Verduzco is struggling to survive this injury. We can’t be with him but folks let us all pray. Give money if you can. Spread the word that he needs our help. Let all of us light a candle and send our love to him and his family. We are all family here in the NW. Football or no Football. We are.
Spread the Word and if you Tweet or Share this story we will count you with us! Use hashtag #ForIsaac and when the Go Fund Me hit’s the Goal we will randomly select 1 person for a $50 Amazon Gift Card as a thank you for helping this most deserving young Dreamer from Eienhower High School.