John Alwood, principal at Lake Braddock High School, said yesterday that after reviewing game films with Football Coach Joe Clark, he remains convinced that Charles D. (C.D.) Ogren Jr.'s brain injury did not result from Friday night's game.
"If he was hurt there, we can't spot it," Alwood said.
"I tend to think it's a freak thing," continued the principal, who said neither he nor any other school officials have been in touch with Ogren's doctors. "We want to do everything we can do to safeguard the kids, and I think we did it in this case."
Ogren remained listed in critical but stable condition.
Lake Braddock football players who said they have been in touch with Ogren's parents said Ogren has been taken off respiratory and life-support equipment. Ogren underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain less than 12 hours after his team played at Robinson.
The players and Alwood said Ogren was able to squeeze his mother's hand during a hospital visit yesterday when asked to do so. However, doctors have been unable to question Ogren extensively about whether he received a blow to his head.
A surgeon familiar with subdural hematoma, the type of blood clot suffered by Ogren, said the injury usually is caused by a hard blow to the head, and symptoms may not appear for days.
The first symptom is a headache, the surgeon said. As the clot exerts more pressure on the brain, vomiting may occur, he added. Later, the respiratory system is affected. The victim develops breathing difficulties and goes into shock, the surgeon said.
Alwood said school officials were aware that Ogren had developed a sinus condition. He added that he had called Ogren's parents and discussed the condition with them. In a statement released through Alwood's office, Ogren's father, Air Force Lt. Col. Charles D. Ogren, said his son had complained about headaches during the week in conjunction with a minor head cold and congested nose. "We had treated him with aspirin and decongestants," he said.
Alwood met for two hours yesterday with Ogren's parents, Clark, and Bob Carson, the athletic director. Afterward, Alwood said the 6-foot-4, 225-pound senior offensive tackle had not shown any signs of illness during the team's Thursday practice -- the last before Friday's game.
"His health didn't seem to be a problem," said one player who attended the practice. "He's a quiet sort of guy, but C.D. didn't complain about anything on Thursday."
Following yesterday's meeting with Alwood, Ogren's father released the following statement:
"As you may know, my family has suffered a grave tragedy this past weekend. We had hoped to maintain this entire incident within our family, our many wonderful and concerned friends, and our coaches, teammates, schoolmates and teachers. Unfortunately, the press has not allowed this and has grossly harassed my family, our neighbors, our son's teammates and coaches. Under these circumstances. I have decided to make the following brief statement to make the facts and my feelings known, and to eliminate any unwarranted speculation in the press.
"Late in the game last Friday evening between Lake Braddock and Robinson, my son, C.D. (Charles D. Jr.) told the coach he had a bad headache and didn't think he could play. Coach Clark immediately replaced him and had the trainer and another coach talk to C.D. at length. C.D. thought it was his sinus. C.D. had complained about some annoying headaches during the week in conjunction with a minor head cold and congested nose. We had treated him with aspirin and decongestants.
"C.D. walked with the team to the buses to return to Lake Braddock. He was vomiting on his way back to school. When the team arrived back at the school, C.D. was obviously in more severe pain, and the coaches had him sit down and immediately called the paramedics and us. The paramedics took him to Commonwealth Hospital, where the emergency room examined him and did some tests. When his condition began to deteriorate, the emergency room doctor decided to move him to Fairfax Hospital.
"An ambulance was called and the doctor accompanied him on the trip. At Fairfax, specialists were called in and more tests were accomplished. Early Saturday morning, C.D. was operated on and a blood clot was removed from his brain. At our last visit C.D. was stable and although not conscious has shown some positive signs. We pray that he continues to progress and we are taking things one step at a time.
"The actual cause of the problem is not known. During the game he did not receive any single hit that appeared to affect him adversely. My wife and I would like to thank all our many friends who have called, C.D.'s friends and teammates who share our concerns and worry, and especially C.D.'s coaches and the Lake Braddock officials who have helped us through this trying period."