High School Quarterback in Hacienda Heights Left Paralyzed by Game Injury Plans to Advocate for Safety in Youth Sports

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A high school quarterback from Hacienda Heights suffered a career-ending injury last month that left him paralyzed, and he says he’ll use the life-changing incident to help other young athletes stay safe.

Nick Aguayo took a hit right before half-time on Sept. 28 that knocked him down and he was unable to get up.

“I was envisioning myself trying to get up, but it was just all one side. My right side of my body just gave out on me,” Nick said.

“I got blindsided, drove me straight to ground, and all I remember was, I felt the shock in the back of neck.”

Nick was rushed to LAC-USC Medical center where hours of testing began. Doctors told him there was something wrong with his spinal cord, they called it spinal shock.

It was devastating news for the senior, who also played basketball and ran track. The right side of Nick’s body is now paralyzed.

“I never try to think of anything negative. It sucked because they did tell me … I’m never going to be able to play sports again,” Nick said.

Eventually, Nick was transferred to a hospital in Pomona to begin rehabilitation. Nick said he is getting sensation back on the right side of his body, but even the smallest movement is a big task.

The Aguayo family isn’t letting this life-changing event get them down. They’re all staying positive.

“Everything happens for a reason,” Nick’s father, Robert Aguayo told KTLA, representing his son’s Wilson Wildcats gear. He said he and his family are staying patient.

Nick said he will use this chance to be an advocate for changes in the California Interscholastic Federation. Nick and his father noted that the players on the team he was competing against on that September night were bigger than him.

“It’s for the safety of other athletes as well, because we don’t want anybody to be going against someone two, three times their size,” Nick said.

In the meantime, Nick is focusing on keeping up with school work and being able to walk again one day.

The player who hit Nick came to visit him at the hospital, and Nick said he is not angry because it is part of the game.

Unfortunately, Nick lost his college scholarship opportunities because of his injury, and he is starting over making plans for the future.

He and his family said they are grateful for community support and remain full of hope.

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