Olathe East High School senior linebacker James McGinnis was rushed into surgery on Friday night at Overland Park Regional Medical Center with bleeding around his brain after he collapsed during the Hawks’ football game against Olathe South.
Prior to McGinnis’ surgery, his father, Patrick, updated his son’s condition to friends and family at the hospital.
“They did a CAT scan and he had blood and there is pressure there, so they are going to do emergency surgery,” McGinnis said. “The doctors said that it is very possible that once they relieve that pressure, he will be fine. He never lost any oxygen to the brain, so it is just a matter of letting that brain (return to normal). His spine looks fine and there are no other injuries.”
Patrick added that surgeons were going to remove a piece of his son’s skull, but they were optimistic. Patrick said that doctors planned to keep his son sedated for 24 hours after surgery was completed.
“I would just ask you to keep him in your prayers and I think he will get through this because he is a fighter, no doubt,” Patrick said.
According to Olathe East athletic director Kraig Taylor, emergency personnel at the football game had to cut off McGinnis’ shoulder pads before loading McGinnis, a 5-foot-8, 165-pound linebacker and slotback, into the ambulance.
Olathe East assistant coach Mike Thomas said the Hawks were on defense in the third quarter. McGinnis had made a tackle a few plays before, but was not involved in the previous play.
After McGinnis collapsed, Thomas said he lay on the field for about 15 minutes before paramedics arrived.
He was non-responsive, yet his blood pressure, pulse and breathing were fine, according to Thomas.
Both team’s players took a knee on the field during the delay.
Olathe East head coach Jeff Meyers also said that McGinnis had suffered one concussion during his sophomore season, but had not had any other related medical issues.
At the hospital late Friday night, about 100 supporters gathered, including Olathe South coach Jeff Gourley. He spoke briefly to McGinnis’ parents.
A similar situation occurred last year in a Sunflower League high school football game, when Andre Maloney of Shawnee Mission West collapsed on the field during a game at SM South District Stadium.
Maloney suffered a stroke and died the following day on Oct. 4, 2013.
On the final play of his life, Maloney scored on a 63-yard touchdown. He was untouched on the play, and he celebrated by pointing to the heavens. But when he returned to the sideline, he became disoriented and collapsed.
Doctors discovered a blood clot in Maloney’s brain, but a three-hour surgery proved unsuccessful.
His family chose to stop further treatment after they were informed he was unlikely to emerge from a vegetative state.
Maloney was 17. He had committed to play football at Kansas.
Meyers announced that Olathe East had postponed its junior varsity football game scheduled for this morning.
The Star’s Tod Palmer contributed to this report.