High School Football Player Mourned

Dodi Soza was hospitalized in critical condition after collapsing while playing in a football game

By Jason Kandel and Jane Yamamoto
|  Sunday, Oct 13, 2013  |  Updated 8:23 AM PDT
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Classmates and a community mourned the loss of a 16-year-old football player who collapsed on the field and died on Saturday. Jane Yamamoto reports from Downey for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. Oct. 12, 2013.

Classmates and a community mourned the loss of a 16-year-old football player who collapsed on the field and died on Saturday. Jane Yamamoto reports from Downey for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. Oct. 12, 2013.

Holding candles and wearing the No. 23 on T-shirts, family and friends gathered at Downey High School on Saturday night to remember a high school football player who died after collapsing on the field.

Mourners gathered in a circle in silence outside the school, as others took to social media to support Dodi Soza after he collapsed on Thursday, using the hashtag #PrayForDodi. On Saturday, it became "#RIPDodi."

“It is a coming together,” said Mario A. Guerra, the mayor of Downey. “Tonight we lost one of our own.”

Soza was at a game against Lynwood High School in Lynwood on Thursday afternoon when he collapsed after apparently suffering a brain injury.

The teen was rushed to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, and was later transferred to Long Beach Memorial.

"He touched so many lives, whether on the football field or in the classroom," said Jack Williams, the Downey High football coach. "You can see by the support of everyone who showed up."

It was the second such death in recent months involving a high school football player in Southern California. A player at a Riverside high school died in August, five days after collapsing on the field during a practice game.

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