Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.
Blaze Galardy was sitting with teammates Friday night at the Sonic on Boulder Highway, rehashing the football game they just finished playing while enjoying a chicken sandwich and Powerade slushy, when the Basic High senior sensed something was wrong.
And, it unfortunately had nothing to do with a 38-20 loss to Del Sol earlier in the night.
The 5-foot-10, 165-pound safety and wide receiver was having a difficult time breathing, which he assumed was the result of having the wind knocked out of him while blocking a field goal attempt in the third quarter.
His injury was much worse.
When Galardy arrived home, he immediately complained to his father that he still wasn’t breathing normally. As a precaution, they went to St. Rose Dominican Hospitals-De Lima campus, where he was diagnosed with a ruptured spleen and internal bleeding.
His blood pressure had dropped to 80/40. If he would have gone to sleep, he could have fallen into a coma.
He was rushed by ambulance to Sunrise Hospital, where he’s been in the intensive care unit ever since. He had a procedure Saturday afternoon to control the internal bleeding and could still potentially have his spleen removed.
He’s expected to make a full recovery, but the process will take at least three months.
So, instead of finishing his football career with a group of teammates he’s played with since elementary school, Galardy might not be released in time for their last game Thursday.
It’s no ordinary game.
Basic will host Green Valley in the annual Henderson Bowl, a rivalry game in its 20th year that is the state’s most intense. It’s the type of contest children in Basic’s neighborhood of east Henderson wait their entire life to play in. It’s also senior night.
“My dad always told me to play my hardest no matter what,” Galardy said. “It’s devastating. You want to be tough and out there playing.”
Here’s all you need to know about Galardy: he’s a team captain, starts on offense, defense and special teams, and is the team’s unquestioned leader.
Basic players typically aren’t the most talented, biggest or fastest, but they compensate for the perceived deficiencies with a never-say-die attitude and gritty style of play that has earned them the respect of several in the Las Vegas Valley. Galardy perfectly fits the stereotype.
“He’s one of those kids who just loves football,” Basic coach Jeff Cahill said. “He always plays at 100 percent and that rubs off on the others.”
That passion for the game was obvious against Del Sol.
Galardy was injured midway through the third quarter when the Del Sol kicker’s knee inadvertently banged into his stomach during his kicking follow through. Galardy initially thought he had the wind knocked out of him.
He missed a few plays while being examined by a trainer, and even though he wasn’t 100 percent, he wasn’t going to watch from the sidelines in one of his team’s biggest games of the year. The Del Sol game was circled on every Basic player’s calendar because the Dragons beat them by one point in last year’s Sunrise Regional championship game.
Galardy on two separate occasions after the injury left the game in an attempt to catch his breath. Not in his wildest nightmares could he have imagined he was seriously injured.
“We had our three biggest games (Foothill, Del Sol and Green Valley) to close the year and I’ve been knocked out of them all,” he said.
Now, instead of getting ready for the next game, Galardy is focused on the little things in his recovery. With the help of his father, Matt Galardy, he walked about 40 feet Monday down the hallway in the intensive care unit. It was a significant step considering he nearly fainted a few hours earlier when trying to walk.
But he refuses to get discouraged in his recovery and doesn't want his teammates to feel bad for him. Rather, he hopes they beat Green Valley — which, if Del Sol beat Silverado, would give Basic a spot in the playoffs.
“Everything he does, especially sports, it’s all-in and 100 percent,” said Randi Raup, his mother.
Galardy’s athletic career, however, is far from finished. He took fourth last spring at the state track meet in the pole vault and plans to being ready to go in March for the track season. This summer, he recorded a vault of 15 feet, 6 inches in a club meet — a distance that would be a Sunrise Region record.
“That would be the light at the end of the tunnel, that he would be recovered in time for the track season,” Matt Galardy said.