The valley’s high school sports community is rallying around a Rancho Mirage football player, Israel “Izzy” Ramirez, who suffered a brain aneurysm last week.
Ramirez was rushed to the hospital last Friday after two of his teammates realized something was wrong. He’s undergone at least 3 brain surgeries since.
“We saw Izzy come out of the gates, and he’s walking through, we turn and look at him, and he just starts hunching over, and he was like oh my head,” senior football captain Hernandez shared.
At Friday night’s La Quinta vs. Rancho Mirage football game, friends, family and fans came together with a show of support for Ramirez. Many carried signs that read ’30 Strong,’ the number on Ramirez’s jersey. And in the stands, there was a sea of maroon, the color for brain aneurysm awareness.
“Just to see all the schools come together and do these little shout outs to him, it just makes me cry every single time I see something like that,” said Angelina Vasquez, Ramirez’s sister.
Before kickoff, both teams gathered at the 30-yard line, kneeling in prayer.
“Seeing my brother lay there knowing he wants to play ball and he can’t, its heartbreaking,” Vasquez said. But his family says he’s getting stronger each day.
“He does have to go to physical therapy, he listens to words, he puts his thumb up he’ll squeeze your finger, but he still has a long road ahead of him,” said Irene Alvarez, Ramirez’s mother.