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We opened 2015 with a sobering look at the toll football has taken on one high school athlete at La Jolla High, whose life was changed after he sustained a brain injuring during a game.

Months after the devastating concussion, that player, Trey Enloe, suffered headaches so debilitating he was unable to attend school. His father, David Enloe, said Trey winced in pain when he entered bright sunlight. Medical records showed Trey was being treated for chronic migraines as a result of his brain trauma.

Just as concerning than the injury was the way coaches responded to the incident. David Enloe said that when Trey first realized he was injured, he asked his coach if he could sit out of the game. That coach refused, David said, and Trey was hit again, exacerbating his injuries.

Jason Carter, the head coach of La Jolla’s football program, was less than transparent about the situation. When first asked about the situation, Carter denied that such an injury occurred. He later changed his story: He’d heard about the incident, but wasn’t coaching that day (video footage later revealed he was on the sidelines during the game).

Trey’s story made national news in October when his family filed a lawsuit against San Diego Unified for failing to keep Trey safe.

San Diego Unified, for its part, never conceded that any of its coaches or school staff members made any mistakes in the ordeal. But, prompted by the story, the district’s physician rewrote San Diego Unified protocols for how staff members will respond to head injuries.

The coverage kicked off a robust discussion in San Diego about the future of high school football. That’s a conversation that wouldn’t have happened had the Enloe family not come forward.

This is part of our Voice of the Year package, profiling the people who drove the biggest conversations in San Diego this year.

Mario Koran

Mario was formerly an investigative reporter for Voice of San Diego. He wrote about schools, children and people on the margins of San Diego.

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