Normally, drivers passing Templeton High School on Highway 101 would look up and see a white "T" on the side of a hill next to Vineyard Drive.
But this week, following the critical brain injury of Templeton High football player Isaac Lindsey during a game Friday night against San Luis Obispo High, that "T" has been transformed into a capital "I," a reflection of the support shown by the city for the 16-year-old student.
Lindsey remained in critical condition in the intensive care unit at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center on Tuesday, a hospital spokesman said. He underwent surgery Saturday to relieve swelling on his brain and has been in a medically-induced coma since then, the Lindsey family has said in a statement.
Lindsey, a running back, was blocking for a teammate when a SLO High defender put his forearm into his chest, the SLO High coach Pat Johnston said after reviewing the game video. After the play, Lindsey grabbed his head and ran off the field and collapsed.
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On Tuesday, his football teammates practiced with the "I" in full view.
"It's not our average week, for sure," Templeton coach Dan Loney said during practice. "But as coaches we have to go into it as normal as possible. And we know it's not normal, the kids know it's not normal...but we still have a job to do."
Loney says he has talked to the Lindsey family and they said they want the week to be like any other week. But the Templeton High campus is anything but normal. Signs hang on every building bearing Lindsey's name and his No. 32.
Isaac’s mother Jenny Lindsey has continued to post updates on her public Facebook page, and she posted again Monday night before heading back to the hospital to be with her son. “I check my calendar this morning… and NOTHING HAS CHANGED…THIS FRIDAY IS STILL FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL AT HOME IN TEMPLETON,” wrote Jenny.
Jenny went on to thank the supportive community, but aimed to shift focus from Isaac’s injury to the players on the field, including Isaac’s brother Louis, who watched their teammate taken off the field on a gurney.
“While Isaac may be absent from this Friday’s game he will be there in spirit and we will be there in person to support Louis and all of his Eagle brothers,” Jenny wrote. “Louis will be suited in armor prepared to battle for them both.”
Loney said he is not sure what the school plans to do to honor Lindsey at Friday night's game in Templeton against Cabrillo, but The Tribune has learned he will be honored before the game. Monetary donations have also continued to pour in through a GoFundMe.com page. As of 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, 670 people have donated more than $76,596 to the family.
“So please bring your Eagle spirit to the field Friday night and let’s lift these boys up,” Jenny wrote.