Hilliard quarterback stable after head injury at game

Nathan Dowie, 18, suffered brain bleed after taking a hit on the field

HILLIARD, Fla. – Hilliard Middle-Senior High School quarterback remained sedated in the hospital Sunday after a head injury he suffered during a Friday night game.

Those close to Nathan Dowie said he is in stable condition after suffering a brain bleed during a play in the third quarter. He still played the rest of the game.  

Related Story: Hilliard High player rushed to hospital after game

The 18-year-old quarterback got hit while scoring a touchdown.  

"When I saw it, it (the hit)  looked pretty rough," said Nathan Dowie's father, Sean Dowie. "He gave a thumbs-up and let everyone know he was fine. He wasn't acting any different, he was energetic as usual."​​​

In a text message, Hilliard assistant coach Byron Crews said, Nathan Dowie was definitely checked out. He said he personally sat down with Nathan Dowie to have a conversation with him after his touchdown and said he seemed to be in really good spirits and was his happy-go-lucky self.  

After the game, the 18-year-old was rushed to the University of Florida Health's trauma center. Doctors performed a CT scan that showed Nathan Dowie had two brain bleeds. He was rushed into surgery.  

"A subdural hematoma is when there is trauma to the head and brain where you get bleeding associated with that, inside the skull. Initially, it may come off as a rather insignificant head injury, it may even be confused with a concussion. But, what we see with a subdural hematoma is the status or condition of the athlete will quickly deteriorate, and they will begin showing additional signs, including unconsciousness," Robert Sefick, executive director of Jacksonville Sports Medicine Program, said. 

"With a concussion, we see some transient symptoms and it is really associated with a chemical change going on in the brain, a reaction to an injury that has occurred, and you get some symptoms of that, versus any type of bleed. Whenever you have bleeding involved, it is a much more serious injury. Concussions do not have that as a symptom or as part of the condition," Seflick said.

"I like to educate our coaches, athletic trainers and athletic directors (that) there is a state law in Florida. We have a statute that says it is everybody's responsibility to recognize when a concerning head injury has occurred and advocate for that student-athlete. The law does say that the athlete should be removed from play and medically evaluated as soon as possible."

The National Football League and some college programs have spotters to look for particular injuries.  High school football programs do not.  


About the Authors:

Zachery “Zach” Lashway anchors KPRC 2+ Now. He began at KPRC 2 as a reporter in October 2021.