Former De La Salle football head coach Bob Ladouceur penned a heartfelt letter Friday promoting an upcoming fundraiser for an East Bay youth paralyzed by head trauma.
Ladouceur paid tribute to Jake Javier of San Ramon Valley High, who was set to play football for Cal Poly before fracturing his neck at a graduation pool party in June 2016 and became paralyzed from the chest down. Ladouceur, who helmed De La Salle from 1979-2012 and remains an assistant coach, also wrote about the worry coaches and parents have in regards to head injuries while sharing his appreciation for Javier’s positive attitude.
“One of our own bright, talented, and promising students needs your help and involvement,” he wrote. “Since Jake’s injury, I couldn’t get him out of my mind, nor did I want to. I didn’t know how I could help. It wasn’t until I read an article about Jake (in a regional magazine) that I felt we could make a big difference in Jake’s future. I wanted to do it by mobilizing the East Bay football players and coaches — the people who knew him, competed against him, heard of him, and love him.”
A celebration of Javier is scheduled for Aug. 5 on the San Ramon Valley football field, where football players from several nearby schools will compete in a variety of games starting at 5 p.m. Students from San Ramon Valley, De La Salle, Monte Vista, California and Freedom high schools will be there to support Javier.
“It will be the first time these football teams will come together for a united cause,” wrote Ladouceur, an alum of San Ramon Valley. “We couldn’t think of anyone more deserving than Jake Javier and his family. Please help us with this worthwhile project.”
Donations can be made to the Javi Strong Foundation here.
The project is especially worthwhile because of the stress coaches and parents endure about their players/children getting seriously hurt.
“While I was head coach, I always feared that one of my players might suffer a serious injury, much like Jake did,” Ladouceur wrote. “As football coaches, we always try our best to keep our students out of harm’s way, however, it never takes away the worry and concern.”
Below is Ladouceur’s letter in full…
“Dear Eastbay footballers and friends,
A little over one year ago, a devastating injury happened to San Ramon High School senior, Jake Javier at a graduation pool party. He dove into a pool, hitting his head at the bottom, fracturing his neck and rendering himself paralyzed from the chest down. While at San Ramon High, Jake was an outstanding student, football player, and friend to all. Jake was destined to continue his education and athletic career at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo last fall, but needless to say those plans changed. Here is the reason I am writing you.
My name is Bob Ladouceur. I was the head football coach at De La Salle High School from 1979 -2012. I am currently an assistant coach and continue teaching. I am also a San Ramon High School alumnus, class of ‘72. While I was Head Coach, I always feared that one of my players might suffer a serious injury, much like Jake did. As football coaches, we always try our best to keep our students out of harm’s way, however, it never takes away the worry and concern. We justify participation by weighing the chances of such an injury, against the rewards of participating in the sport we love. Even though Jake didn’t receive his injury on the football field, it doesn’t detract from the fact that one of our own bright, talented, and promising students needs your help and involvement. Since Jake’s injury, I couldn’t get him out of my mind, nor did I want to. I didn’t know how I could help. It wasn’t until I read an article about Jake in the March edition of Diablo magazine, that I felt we could make a big difference in Jake’s future. I wanted to do it by mobilizing the East Bay football players and coaches–the people who knew him, competed against him, heard of him, and love him. Since that time, I’ve met with Jake and his parents, Jim and Isabelle. Jake is a remarkable young man. Please read the Diablo magazine article on him–it’s outstanding. Jake is optimistic, determined, and motivated to make a difference in his and other’s’ lives as he goes forward. Through our participation, we will all be making an investment in Jake’s future. Rest assured that if Jake’s injury happened to the student that is sending this letter to you, we would be doing the same thing for him.
The coaches and community that evolve to make this fundraiser happen are Steve Jacoby from eteamsponsor, Aaron Becker from San Ramon High School, Matt Russi from Monte Vista High School, Eric Billeci from California High School, Kevin Hartwig from Freedom High School, and Justin Alumbaugh from De La Salle High School. We will all celebrate Jake with an event on Saturday, August 5th at 5 p.m. at San Ramon Valley High School football field with a Day of Games! SRV, Monte Vista, Freedom High, Cal High & DLS football teams will come together to compete in various games. Teams will consist of players from each team to show their commitment to come together for Jake and his family. It will be the first time these football teams will come together for a united cause. We couldn’t think of anyone more deserving than Jake Javier and his family. Please help us with this worthwhile project.
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