Victoria East player collapses on sidelines, expected to recover fully

East cornerback Quinton Peña, right, seen at the game between Victoria East and Victoria West at Memorial Stadium on Oct. 12. Peña suffered a concussion during Friday's game at Beeville.

A Victoria East High School football player created some tense moments Friday night when he collapsed on the sideline in Beeville during a game with the Trojans and was rushed to a hospital.

About 11 p.m., VISD School Superintendent Robert Jaklich said that cornerback Quinton Peña suffered a concussion during the third quarter and would spend the night at Christus Spohn Hospital-Beeville for observation.

"He is going to be fine," said Jaklich, who was briefed by the Titan staff members. "He is going to be OK and we are so, so blessed. But we are not going to take any chances."

Peña, a junior cornerback for Victoria East, was reported to be alert and talking with family members just a couple hours after he was taken by ambulance from the game.

Jaklich said Peña was injured when he was struck in the head.

"I was told that during that one play an opposing player's knee hit him (Peña) in the back of his neck," said Jaklich, who was briefed about the injury by the Titans trainer, Leigh Muil.

He said Peña "came off the field a little shook up, and he said he wasn't feeling good."

The trainer helped Peña remove his helmet to examine his head and his eyes.

And that's when Peña became lethargic and collapsed on the sideline, Jaklich said. Emergency medical services were summoned to examine Peña as a precaution, and he was taken to the Beeville hospital.

Jaklich said hospital workers performed a CAT scan on Peña and determined he suffered a concussion. As a precaution, he was admitted to the hospital for observation and is expected to be released Saturday morning.

By late Friday, Jaklich said, Peña was awake and talking to his sister and his parents.

Peña was hurt with about eight minutes left in the third quarter.

Sophomore quarterback Jonathan Ortega said players were aware of Peña's injury but stayed motivated to win the game, 40-30, against Beeville.

"I didn't even see what happened," Ortega said after the game, "but after I saw that he passed out, we went over there and had a prayer and we knew that we were going to play for him."

Ortega said players kept Peña and teammate Matt Dorsett, who is battling cancer, in their thoughts while on the field.

Deondric Lofton, a junior wide receiver, said, "That's scary to see a teammate go down like that - it's real scary."

"We used that as a rallying point."