High school students grappling with the critical injury of a beloved classmate and football player took to social media Friday to share their concern and express support for their friend, who remained hospitalized after collapsing on the field during a game.
Dodi Soza, a player on the Downey High School football team, was in critical condition as of 10 a.m. at MemorialCare in Long Beach, hospital officials said.
The hashtag #PrayforDodi picked up steam on Twitter overnight as friends and classmates encouraged one another to wear white to school Friday in a show of support for Soza.
"I strongly believe in miracles and I know Dodi will get through this! #prayfordodi," wrote one supporter on Twitter.
Soza was at a game against Lynwood High School in Lynwood on Thursday afternoon when he collapsed after apparently suffering a brain injury.
The 16-year-old was rushed to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, and was later transferred to Long Beach Memorial.
"His mom is a very strong woman, it's something that nobody wants to go through" said Soza's friend, Martin Ponte. "We need to keep them in our prayers, wish them the best. He's a tough guy, he'll pull through."
The Downey Unified School District declined to comment citing privacy concerns.
Photos circulating on social media showed students in "23" shirts, in honor of Soza's football jersey number. Some held white balloons and others crafted banners with messages of support.
On Friday, students from crosstown rival Warren High stopped by the Downey High campus to lend their support for the critically injured teen, pictured right in a running play in a previous game.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Downey High School student," said the superintendent for the Lynwood Unified School District in a statement.