Cal Poly

Cal Poly football recruit Jake Javier paralyzed in pool accident on eve of graduation

Just one day before his graduation, Cal Poly football recruit and former member of the San Ramon Valley High School football team fell into the pool at a friend’s house and broke his neck, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.

Jake Javier hit his head and was airlifted Thursday to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, where he underwent surgery, said his aunt Diane Blardony.

Blardony said Javier will be heavily sedated for the next 48 hours, and the extent of any permanent damage is still unknown. He is expected to be in the intensive care unit for at least the next two weeks.

“He, for sure, is not going to walk again, but we do hope that — once he is awake and over time — he will regain use of his hands,” Blardony said.

Blardony said school officials and the community have shown an outpouring of support.

“The football team has been here supporting him and staying late,” she said.

The school hosted a vigil Thursday on the football field.

“Jake is a great young man, a quality guy and he was at our Spring Game in April,” Cal Poly head coach Tim Walsh said in a statement. “We were looking forward to his arrival at Cal Poly, but now our thoughts and prayers are with him as we hope for his best possible recovery.”

Named Athlete of the Year at San Ramon Valley, Javier — a 6-3, 260-pound offensive lineman whose father is a Hayward police officer — has been admitted to Cal Poly and planned to major in mechanical engineering, according to a Cal Poly news release. He was expected to join the team this fall as a walk on.

Blardony attended the graduation ceremony at San Ramon Valley High School on Friday, where a friend accepted Javier’s diploma.

Javier, the son of Jim and Isabelle Javier, had plans to take a road trip to Newport Beach with friends this summer and attend Cal Poly in the fall to play football, Blardony said.

A GoFundMe page for medical costs raised more than $27,700 in a matter of hours, with contributions continuously pouring in.

Hours after the accident, Javier’s sister, Gabby Javier, tweeted, “Let this be a reminder to everyone to live in the moment and to not take the simple things in life for granted, such as the ability to run or the ability to retain memories.”

In a letter to parents and teachers, San Ramon Valley Principal Ruth Steele said, “Jake is a special young man, and this tragic accident has left our staff, students and families absolutely devastated.”

Counselors were on campus Friday morning as seniors lined up for graduation practice.