Medical Condition Could End Football for Victory Christian's Nekari Jones
Thu. September 27, 2012 at 11:28 p.m. | By Solange Reyner
By SOLANGE REYNER
LAKELAND | After a Sept. 7 high school football game, Nekari Jones felt sick, his symptoms something to the effect of a possible concussion.
So the coaching staff at Victory Christian rushed him to the hospital in Melbourne, close to Florida Air Academy, where the game was played, and Jones was quickly hooked up to an IV with wires stuck all around his body.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound junior felt weak, dehydrated. He thought the visit would be a quick one.
But it turned into four days of tests, a synopsis of kidney damage and a leaky heart valve along with a doctor's order to stay away from football forever.
Jones, 16, says the news still hasn't hit him yet. And he's hoping a cardiologist gives him some good news today when he goes for additional tests.
"Really, I don't want to get too bothered about it because I don't think what the doctors told me is real," Jones said. "I still go to practice, but it's not the same watching everything from the sideline."
Jones was off to a good start this season and was hopeful that college coaches would start looking his way after he posted 380 yards receiving in only three games, a stat that still leads all Polk County receivers almost midway through the season.
He also caught four touchdown passes.
"I'm just praying and hoping we can get him to someone who knows what they're talking about. It really hurts missing him," Victory coach Andre Dobson said.
Jones was a cog in Victory's offense and quarterback Hunter Hotchkiss's go-to receiver.
"At first they thought it was heat stroke. Then they started doing blood work and they found out that my kidneys weren't working," Jones said.
He said the medical staff told him he had Rhabdomyolysis, which is when muscle fibers break down and myoglobin, or muscle fiber contents, are released into the bloodstream. Myoglobin can often cause kidney damage.
Jones said the medical staff also told him that he had a heart murmur. Then, they told him to stay away from football.
He hopes they were taking precautions.
"If I get hit, normally where someone would bruise I would have internal bleeding," Jones said. "I'm hoping to get back to football soon. If not, I just need to focus on getting my grades to be very good."