Cal Program Relieved by End of Best's Hospital Stay

Photo: <b>The Cal football team</b> takes a knee and watches on as tailback Jahvid Best is attended to by medical staff. Best was released from the Highland General Hospital yesterday morning.
Nathan Yan/Staff
The Cal football team takes a knee and watches on as tailback Jahvid Best is attended to by medical staff. Best was released from the Highland General Hospital yesterday morning.

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Jahvid Best, who suffered a serious concussion in the second quarter of the Cal football team's loss to Oregon State on Saturday night, was released from Highland General Hospital on Sunday after CT scans and X-rays came back normal.

"He's doing fine," Bears coach Jeff Tedford said. "He's sore. But we're all thankful that there's no severe damage and he's going to recover just fine."

Best was injured when he hurdled a defender into the end zone and was upended by Beavers safety Cameron Collins while in the air, landing violently and awkwardly on the back of his head and neck. The game stopped for about 15 minutes while medical personnel attended to Best, who was knocked unconscious by the impact.

Tedford visited Best in the hospital Saturday night and said the junior tailback was awake and communicating, but was a little groggy from medication. When the two spoke on the phone Sunday, Tedford said, Best sounded much more alert. Best does remember the play and has seen replays.

Although Tedford said after the game that Best was "doing OK," it was still reassuring for him to have the Vallejo, Calif., native return home.

"When I saw him last night I felt really good about his condition," Tedford said on Sunday. "But you always are concerned, making sure overnight that everything goes smooth. And so I was really happy this morning, when I talked to the doctor, that the night went fine and today was fine."

Sunday morning brought welcome news to two members of the Cal backfield, as well. Fullback Brian Holley-the first person to reach Best after his fall-and tailback Shane Vereen both received text messages from Best, who told them that he was feeling much better after a night's sleep.

"You always want that little extra confirmation from him that he's OK," said Vereen, who admitted that he'd had trouble sleeping Saturday night while the image of Best's awkward landing replayed in his head. "To get that made me feel a lot better."

"Coach Tedford told us during the game that he would be OK, but it's kind of hard to really be assured from that because if he wasn't, you ask yourself, would (Tedford) tell us that?," Holley said. "So it was good to get a text from him this morning."

Best will not play against Arizona this weekend and his availability for the rest of the season remains undetermined. Tedford said that will be up to Cal's medical team, which will put Best through a series of tests-including an impact test and a bike test-before considering the possibility of clearing him to play again.

"They will take great care and make sure they take all precautions to make sure that he'll be completely cleared," Tedford said.

For now, Best has simply been instructed to rest.

Tedford guessed that the tailback will be around Memorial Stadium later this week. Although he has endured his share of injuries, Best has always bucked against missing practices. Holley agreed that Best likely "would be back tomorrow if he could."

But Holley also acknowledged that Best's stubbornness makes it all the more important for the team to be cautious about easing him back into football. A cognitive science major who is writing his thesis on "cognitive dysfunctions in former football players," Holley is aware of the potential long-term effects of head injuries, which include dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

"That's why it's good we have a checks-and-balances system with our medical staff," he said. "As much as the coaches may want (Best) to come back, or even if they don't, it's up to our medical staff to clear him and make sure he's OK to come back to play. His health and his well-being is the biggest priority."

The Bears held their usual walkthrough Sunday evening, but the absence of their teammate was tangible. It hit Holley particularly hard during position meetings, where he typically sits next to Best for game film.

Understandably, on Sunday, one play was partially omitted.

"(Running backs coach Ron Gould) showed the film, showed how high (Best) got, but he didn't show him fall," Holley said. "I think he just didn't want to have to see it."

Tags: JAHVID BEST, CAL, CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS, CAL FOOTBALL


Contact Matt Kawahara at [email protected]



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