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Pole vaulter hurt in accident

by Chuck Smock

Douglas pole vaulter Jason Jarrett suffered a serious head injury Monday night while practicing at Incline High School.

He was taken by CareFlight to Washoe Medical Center, where he was listed in serious but stable condition Tuesday afternoon in the Intensive Care Unit, according to spokesperson Kate Griswold.

Tigers track and field coach Keith Cole said Tuesday that Jarrett was practicing with a new pole when he was injured. He said Jarrett landed on the mat on his knees, then fell off the mat and hit his head.

In a somber meeting with more than 50 DHS track and field athletes and coaches before Tuesday’s practice, Cole explained the details of the accident and the injury.

The coach said Jarrett’s mother, Mary, told him that Jason underwent a CT Scan Monday night and was scheduled to undergo more tests Tuesday. The initial scan revealed a large pool of blood between Jarrett’s skull and brain. The scan also showed swelling of the brain.

Cole reported that Jarrett was able to recognize his mom and dad, Mike, but that he apparently didn’t know where he was or how he got there. Cole said it’s likely Jarrett will spend at least 15 days in the hospital.

Jarrett’s teammate and fellow senior pole vaulter Chris Chappell was visibly shaken after the meeting. Chappell said he, Jarrett and several of their teammates had discussed the recent death of a high school pole vaulter in Nebraska.

“You hear about accidents happening, but it’s so scary to think that it happened to someone you know,” said Chappell, who broke the DHS pole vault record with a jump of 16 feet on March 25 in Fallon. “Everyone has scary jumps, but Jason is always in control. I can’t believe it happened to him.”

Cole urged the Douglas athletes to continue working hard this week and to dedicate their performances this weekend at the Reed Invitational to Jarrett.

“Jason isn’t the kind of guy who would want us to feel sorry for him,” Cole told the group. “I think a good goal is to go out and give him something to read about in the newspaper.

“And let’s make an effort to keep him in our hearts and prayers.”

Chappell said he briefly considered not competing this weekend. Instead, he said he’ll try his best to clear a height that will make his friend proud.

“I’ve thought about Jason a lot Tuesday afternoon. “For a while, I didn’t know if I wanted to jump this weekend, but this is one of those things you have to overcome.

“Jason and I train together and have known each other for a long time. I think of him as a good friend. He’s always there cheering you on, even if he’s not having his best meet. He’s a great guy.”