Stuart High School football captain John Avila, still in a coma after suffering a brain injury during his team's game against Edison Friday night, will undergo further tests today and his father said the family will determine in the next couple of days whether to take him off a life-support system.

Moises Avila said yesterday his son will undergo an EEG (electroencephalogram) examination today at Alexandria Hospital. Juan Jammes, an Alexandria neurologist, will administer the test, which measures brain activity.

The elder Avila said X-rays of young Avila's neck and a brain scan taken yesterday yielded results similar to those taken Friday night by Aldo Rosenblat, who performed 4 1/2 hours of surgery early Saturday morning to relieve pressure on young Avila's brain.

"He didn't find anything new," the father said. "It was the same as before."

According to Moises Avila, his son apprently blinked yesterday, but doctors were unsure whether the life-support machine may have caused it. "The way he {Jammes} said it, maybe he had the response of life, but not normal life," Moises Avila said. "Today, that's his opinion."

Moises Avila said he doesn't want his son to suffer. He said he will seek another medical opinion before making any decisions.

"I want my son, if it's possible, to be normal," he said. "Otherwise, we're talking about taking him off the life-support and letting him go in peace. I can't take my son with so much damage in the brain. It's too much to take care of. You would never have the regular person, regular life."

John Avila, a senior and a captain of the team, left the field in the third quarter after complaining of cramps and loss of sight, according to a teammate interviewed yesterday.

He left the field on his own power, sat on the bench and collapsed minutes later. He was taken by ambulance to Alexandria Hospital where he underwent surgery to relieve the swelling.

Teammate and captain Mark Maldonado said he remembered Avila, who played linebacker and offensive guard, complaining of cramps and told him to take a breather.

"He was having an outstanding game, making tackles and doing everything," said Maldonado, whose position, right cornerback, placed him behind Avila. "After a play {neither Avila nor Maldonado made the tackle}, we were getting in the defensive huddle and he said, 'I have cramps.' I could barely hear him.

"I call defensive signals and I just told him to go out. But he stayed one more play and sort of fell on the pile. He wasn't in on the tackle, he sort of fell on the top and was slow getting up. He was just laying there. Everyone was telling him to get up. When he got up, he said he couldn't see. He ran off by himself and I saw him sit down on the bench with the trainer."

Coach Tom Arehart called John Avila one of the best conditioned athletes on the team and was at a loss to explain such a freak accident. Moises Avila had Saturday that he did not approve his son playing on offense and defense.

"I don't know if we'll ever get over this," Arehart said after an emotional two-hour practice yesterday at the Fairfax County school. "Recovery will be difficult. I talked to the varsity and the freshman team about John, trying to rally them around his attitude and what he stood for. He was a serious athlete who never missed practice and exhibited outstanding leadership qualities. I felt it was very important for them to know those things because they {freshmen} are the nucleus of our future program. They were very receptive."

Delores Bohen, the spokesperson for community relations for the Fairfax County school system, said the Stuart students were made aware of the seriousness of Avila's injury yesterday before the start of classes and there was a moment of prayer.

A crisis intervention team was sent to Stuart to help the students and faculty cope with the situation.

"Some students were unaware of what happened and, at times, in those type of situations, it is necessary for kids to have someone to talk to," Bohen said. "Some kids were close to him and they may have needed some counseling. The team will stay at the school as long as we feel it is necessary."

Robert Spillane, superintendent of Fairfax County schools, said yesterday he will review reports of the incident. He said it is too soon to talk about changing medical or safety policies because of the injury.

"Unless something comes up," he said, "I can't think of anything to change right now. We have no medical results of what happened.

"Certainly we will review what happened, but we would normally do that anyway, whether it be a bus accident or anything else. But no one at this point can point to a safety issue or a medical issue.

"As for the issue of him going both ways, that's irrelevant. It has nothing to do with why someone drops on the field.

"We feel we are extremely tough. Last week we had a case where a student appealed to play with parental support. But our physicians had said there was the potential for a neck injury, so we wouldn't let him play.

"The family offered to sign a waiver, but we said no. The kid cried, the parents pleaded, but we said no. Most people would say we are too tough."

Principal John Randall tried to conduct school as normally as possible yesterday, but many students were visibly upset.

"John was a decent person and this just isn't right," said a student who said he was a friend of the player. "We were at the game and we just thought he was just winded, you know, tired. No one saw him get hit hard or anything. When he fell down, we knew he was hurt."

Arehart said he knew yesterday's practice would be difficult, but his players responded as well as could be expected. "Under the circumstances, things went well. There was some crying and some of the kids were down mentally. Most of the kids are going to the prayer service and we cut practice short. We plan to keep John in our prayers . . . "

About 400 people, including Avila's immediate family, attended the 45-minute prayer service for Avila last night at St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Falls Church.

"As we join together this evening, it's hard," said Father Mark Hoying of St. Anthony's. "It's hard to think about John. We have hard questions to ask. Why? Why John?

"As I have talked to so many students, faculty, parents, family, that coldness and hardness is definitely not a part of John. Through John there was encouragement . . . so, when we come together in the real spirit of warmth and life and openness, we bring our prayers together to the source of all warmth."

Maldonado, who has known Avila since seventh grade, said he was shaken when his close friend and fellow team captain was not there yesterday to help lead the team in calisthenics.

"The two of us are always up front and we alternate leading exercises," Maldonado said. "When I finished mine, I paused waiting for John to lead his. Then I remembered, he wasn't here. I felt so weird."

Staff writers Leonard Shapiro and Dave Sell contributed to this report.