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Old 04-13-2005, 03:58 PM   #2
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Default Re: Arena football player dies

By Jill Painter
Staff Writer

Tragedy struck the Avengers' Arena Football League game Sunday at Staples Center when lineman Al Lucas died from injuries suffered on a tackle during the New York Dragons' first-quarter kickoff return.
In a statement released by the team, Dr. Luga Podesta, the Avengers' team doctor, said Lucas's death is presumed to have been caused by a spinal cord injury.

"I came out and saw him on the ground unresponsive and at that point I just started praying right then and there," New York quarterback Aaron Garcia said.

Avengers receiver Tony Locke said Lucas was the first person he met when he signed with the Avengers this year.

"I wish it was a bad dream," Locke said. "I'm hoping. He was the most giving guy. He was our moral leader. He cared more about this game than anybody I know."

Lucas, 26, apparently was hit in the head by the knee of a New York blocker during a tackle on the kickoff return. Lucas lay motionless on the field and was carried out on a stretcher and taken to California Hospital. He was pronounced dead at 1:28 p.m., according to the release, which was during the game.

Hodgkiss told players of the tragedy in a locker room meeting after the game.

"We knew it was a serious situation but we didn't know how serious it was," Locke said.

Television replays showed Lucas bending down to make a tackle. The Dragons' ball carrier and a blocker tumbled over his head and back, with the blocker's leg appearing to hit Lucas in the head. Lucas did not move after falling to the ground.
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