Del Oro junior hospitalized after training in record heat



The Del Oro Golden Eagles take to the field before the game as the Del Oro Golden Eagle college football team hosts the Granite Bay Grizzlies, Friday, September 22, 2017.

Special for the bee

Rico Petrini is a burly kid who loves web design projects, family, and football.

So says his father, also named Rico.

“He’s a beef,” said the proud pop.

Petrini collapsed twice late Tuesday afternoon on the Del Oro High School football field during the hottest temperatures on record in Sacramento. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound lineman was immediately treated by coaches and an on-site coach, rushed to the coach’s room, then quickly rushed to the emergency room to be treated for a heatstroke. Tuesday’s training was shortened and water breaks were imposed every 10 to 15 minutes.

Petrini’s parents were mortified by what they saw at the hospital, and they said on Wednesday they were frustrated, alarmed and worried that an afternoon practice had happened when a large part of the Sacramento area held workouts before school or after sunset.

“Rico’s (Kim) mom told me Rico looked dead when she got to the hospital and I was on my way,” Petrini’s dad told The Bee by phone. “His muscles were all stiff. He was unconscious. The Loomis Fire paramedic told me that luckily our son is young enough and healthy enough to make a full recovery, but if it was me, at my age, I would be in shock and be dead .

He added: “It’s something not to be taken lightly. We brought him home late (Tuesday). The hospital was overflowing with heatstroke victims. It’s foggy but we think that He’ll be fine. The ER nurse called me this morning to check on him and said, ‘He’s not going to practice anymore this week, right? ‘

No. Petrini, the student, will not be attending Loomis School for the rest of the week while recovering. He also won’t be practicing anytime soon, his father said. He may not play the rest of this season as heatstroke victims become more susceptible to the conditions. There was relief in the voice of the father, who recalled how his son was in a state of unresponsiveness when he was first admitted, then later was able to speak, but not much, due to a severe headache.

Petrini added: “I have no animosity towards (Del Oro head football coach) Mike Maben, but I am concerned about everything that has gone wrong. My son always trains hard. He wants to start in games. There is no slow speed with him. There is a collective burden of responsibility here.

He added: “They had black helmets on, it’s 115 degrees and hot enough to fry eggs.”

Petrini said he understands it’s hot and football isn’t always easy. The Bay Area native played four years as a linebacker at Oregon State. The bee could not reach Del Oro athletic director Jill Butler or manager Kim Barry. Emails to Barry bounced back as undeliverable and the administrative office and athletic department voicemail boxes were full Wednesday afternoon. Maben did not immediately return several messages seeking comment.

The Placer Union School District sent out a statement late Wednesday that sports activities will only be permitted when temperatures are below 104 degrees and all safety guidelines will be followed.

“It is our responsibility to ensure that this does not happen again in the future,” the district said.

Petrini said he was curious how the Del Oro golf team, which includes his son’s twin sister Juliana, would cancel a game this week due to extreme heat, but the school allowed a practice. football during the hottest part of the day. Or why football players weren’t in the gym instead, which other schools in the area were doing.

Petrini said he was relieved to learn that Del Oro practiced Wednesday before school. He said Barry called him Wednesday morning.

“She said Del Oro didn’t have a practice heat policy in place but wanted to work with the school district to put something in place,” Petrini, Sr. said. Have a good action plan. What happened to my son… it shouldn’t happen.

This story was originally published September 7, 2022 2:33 p.m.

Joe Davidson has covered sports for The Sacramento Bee since 1988: preps, colleges, Kings and feature films. He is a 14-time winner of the California Prep Sports Writer Association. In 2021, he received the CIF Distinguished Service award. He is a member of the California Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Davidson competed in football and track and field in Oregon, his legend never growing.


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