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Alta High student recovering from brain injury after fight with teammate

Santiago “Ago” Lake, 15, is pictured in this screenshot from a GoFundMe page set up to help his family with medical costs after he suffered serious injuries in a confrontation with another 15-year-old boy, a teammate on Alta High School’s sophomore basketball team.
Santiago “Ago” Lake, 15, is pictured in this screenshot from a GoFundMe page set up to help his family with medical costs after he suffered serious injuries in a confrontation with another 15-year-old boy, a teammate on Alta High School’s sophomore basketball team.
GoFundMe.com

SANDY — A 15-year-old boy who was severely injured last month during a fight with a teammate in the locker room at Alta High School is continuing to make progress with his rehabilitation.

According to a GoFundMe page set up to help Santiago “Ago” Lake and his family with Ago’s medical bills, he began his second week of rehabilitation last week.

“Santiago started to gain his balance and to walk on his own, still with supervision and at a slow pace. Things that were taken for granted for an athlete like him are the wins we celebrate every day. He is a true warrior, keeping the best attitude, working hard and determined as always,” the message states.

Police say Ago was punched in the head on Jan. 15 during a confrontation with another 15-year-old boy, a teammate on Alta High School’s sophomore basketball team.

Ago allegedly told another boy on the team that he wasn’t doing drills during practice correctly. The boy “was argumentative and told him something along the lines of, ‘Wait until the locker room,’ and other statements to fight,” according to a search warrant affidavit filed by Sandy police investigating the case.

Ago found the other boy crying in the locker room after practice and told him to stop, the affidavit states, and then the teen punched Ago on the left side of his face.

While his mother drove him home, Ago “complained of headaches and began vomiting.” The next morning. his mother said she found him having a seizure in his bed.

“(He) was taken to IMC, where he was found to have an epidural hematoma, among other injuries, and required emergency surgery,” the affidavit states.

Police investigating the assault interviewed 10 other members of the basketball team, including the student accused of hitting Ago.

Witnesses said Ago wasn’t going to fight until the other boy pushed him into a locker and punched him in the face, according to the warrant.

“After being hit a couple of times, (Ago) tackled (the boy). As they were getting up, (the boy) punched (Ago) again, hard enough (Ago) fell to the floor,” the affidavit states.

When interviewed by police, the student admitted threatening Ago, but claimed he “would not stop being mean so he pushed him, then punched him,” according to the affidavit.

According to Ago’s father, “Ago suffered a serious life-threatening brain injury due to an act of violence that should not have happened. He was diagnosed with an epidural hematoma. He was found early (on the morning of Jan. 16) in a forceful tremor/seizure state and unresponsive. They called 911 and he was rushed to the ER. Upon arriving in the ER he was immediately rushed into emergency brain surgery to remove a major blood clot that was putting pressure on his brain. He is now in recovery but the truth is it is going to be a long slow process,” the GoFundMe page states.

An update on Jan. 29 on the page shows pictures of Ago’s teammates posing with his jersey.

“These pictures brought so much happiness to Santiago. We saw again his big and beautiful smile that we were missing so much. He simply loves his team, his buddies and brothers. Go Hawks!! You guys are amazing!!” his mother wrote.

In an update on Feb. 10, pictures were posted of Ago dribbling a basketball. His family has called him a “warrior” for his determination during his recovery.

Sandy police said Monday the case had been turned over to the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office to be screened for potential criminal charges.

The student accused of punching Ago no longer attends Alta High School but is still enrolled in the district, according to Canyons School District spokesman Jeff Haney.