School officials said in a press conference Sunday that Brandon Steburg, the defensive end for the Papillion-La Vista Monarchs, is currently at Nebraska Medicine's ICU in critical condition.
Steburg is being treated for a concussion after he was taken from the Burke High School field by ambulance Friday night during a game with Creighton Prep.
Over the weekend, Steburg underwent surgery and was placed in a medically-induced coma. Athletic Director for Papillion-LaVista High School Jason Ryan said that doctors are hoping to have him out of ICU soon. They are monitoring his vitals and pressure on his brain. They say no one has any idea how Steburg sustained his injuries Friday night.
No one remembers anything unusual in the tackles Steburg made during the game.
"He made a really great tackle on the quarterback right before half. The quarterback landed on top of him, but it was not an unusual hit that you would see in the game of football,” said Coach Randy Hubert.
Teammates said they noticed Steburg moving slower and requesting a substitute right before the next play was about to start.
"He tapped his helmet a couple times, but it was towards the beginning of the next play and I kinda urged him unknowingly to get back on the line,” said Jake Dinges, middle linebacker for the Monarchs.
After that play, Steburg came off the field and worked with a trainer. Coach Hubert said he was able to talk and there was no immediate indication they needed to call 9-1-1.
"I thought maybe he hurt his groin because he just wasn't trotting off like he normally would, something was wrong,” said Hubert.
Ordinarily, an ambulance is standing by at all high school football games. Director Ryan says one was contracted to be there but was running late.
Hubert says once they called 9-1-1, responders came quickly.
"I think it took probably a little longer than if we'd had one there at the game, but I think he had some good medical help there,” said Hubert.
Coaches and teammates describe Steburg as a relentless player and a great friend.
"An amazing athlete, but an even better friend. He’s just a really good guy. He’s always there for you when you need him,” said Clay Madson, wide receiver.
His teammates and family are grateful for the outpouring of support they have received from the community. Creighton Prep moms held a prayer vigil on Sunday to pray for Steburg. The Papillion Hy-Vee donated food and desserts to the family at the hospital.
Friends from Papio-LaVista and Creighton Prep players and coaches have all been to visit Steburg. Some of the parents of the Papio-LaVista students dropped off gift cards to allow the family to stay longer at the hospital.
School officials said they don't yet know what they chances are of Steburg recovering enough to play out the rest of the season.
A Go Fund Me account has been set up to help the family with expenses.