Riverbend High School boys soccer player Jake Gallello was injured Tuesday during an away game at Stafford County’s Brooke Point High School.
Jake was injured when he fell and hit his head on the turf during play, said Rene Daniels, spokeswoman for Spotsylvania County Schools.
WRC, the NBC affiliate in Washington, reported Thursday that Jake suffered a burst blood vessel on his brain stem and a serious concussion. He remains hospitalized.
Bears boys soccer coach Bob Stack respectfully declined to answer specific questions about Jake's condition, instead directing all inquiries to the Spotsylvania County Schools office.
“He’s progressing. I’ll say that much,” Stack said before his team took the field for a home game against Mountain View on Thursday night.
Although Jake was away from the team, he was not far from the minds of the players, coaches and fans.
The players stood side by side with their arms locked around each other as a sign of solidarity during pregame ceremonies.
When they took the field, the Bears starters kneeled in a circle near the halfway line for a moment of meditation or prayer.
A moment of silence was recognized before play started.
“Varsity midfielder, No. 8 Jake Gallello, remains in the hospital. We ask for a moment of silence for Jake and his family for a full and speedy recovery and to return to his team and the game he deeply loves,” the public address announcer said.
The Twitter hashtag “#PrayForJake” has been trending locally in support of Jake.
A large sign with “Pray for Jake” painted in school colors—blue, green and black—was attached to one of the fences near the bleachers.
Jake has been a rising player in local soccer circles. In 2011, the center midfielder was listed among topdrawersoccer.com’s Mid-Atlantic region young players to watch while playing for the FASA Hotspur 98 Elite U13 team.
Gallello, the website wrote, is “a dynamic and creative attacking midfielder [who] has great field vision and soccer intelligence well beyond his years. From the midfield he orchestrates the offense with an instinctual ability to see the game two or three plays ahead of the opposition.”
In addition to the Bears, Jake plays travel soccer with the Fredericksburg FC 98 Black team, coached by Colonial Forge boys coach Adam Spinelli. Spinelli said he spoke to Jake’s mother on Wednesday and he was stunned by the news.
“It’s hard to put into words what you’re thinking when you first hear that,” he said. “He’s a wonderful kid and you never want to hear anything like that. The big thing for me is I hope he recovers, and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”
Jake comes from an athletic family. Older brother Derek is a senior baseball player at the University of Charlotte.
Jake’s injury came on the heels of a single-engine plane crash at Orange County Airport on Sunday that killed Riverbend sophomore Ryan McCall.
“This is a real tough time for Riverbend students,” said one student who asked not to be identified.
—Sports editor Steve DeShazo contributed to this report.
Nathan Warters: 540/374-5442