UCSB's Loy battles meningitis

Current UCSB midfielder Aaron Loy (LCC) is battling the devastating effects of meningitis.
UCSB freshman midfielder Aaron Loy continues to impress his family and lacrosse fans everywhere with his strength, determination and toughness. This time, his performance is not on the field, but in a hospital bed, in the burn unit, at UC San Diego Medical Center.

On November 12, Aaron's UCSB suite mates rushed him to the Cottage Hospital emergency room in Santa Barbara, where doctors quickly determined Loy was suffering from meningitis.

“Had his suite mates not gotten Aaron to the ER, or had the doctors not treated him as quickly and aggressively as they did, the outcome would have certainly been fatal,” his family wrote in an online journal.

After several long days and nights, and a multitude of surgeries aimed at limited further damage and increasing blood flow, Loy was stabilized and flown down the coast to the Burn Center at UC San Diego Medical Center. There, doctors were far better equipped to manage the high risk of additional infection, assess the overall damage to his tissue and major organs, and begin the tedious process of attempting to permanently restore sufficient blood flow to his extremities. 

It was during that process, doctors and Aaron's family realized the only way to save his life and prevent further damage was to amputate his feet.

“Tragically the tissue, muscle and nerves in his feet became irreversibly necrotic. Yesterday, Aaron's feet were amputated to save his lower legs and to reduce the risk of further infection,” they wrote.

It was sobering news for the multitude, including all of his UCSB teammates, who were anxiously following Aaron's story with the hope of a miraculous recovery.

Today, Loy continues his fight. Each day brings a new series of challenges to the youing athlete, but he meets each of them with the same spirit and determination he demonstrated on the lacrosse field.

"Ice chips, peaches and apple sauce," his parents recently wrote in his journal.  "We were excited to be 'back in the stands' this morning, watching and cheering for Aaron as he completed an important proficiency test with a therapist …proving that he could both chew and swallow. Of course Aaron nailed it! Battle-hardened by all those timed shuttle runs, endless push-ups, lung-bursting ladders/gassers…Aaron’s competitive spirit will help him recover." 

"Yesterday we were greeted by a wonderful surprise from the doctors. We walked into Aaron’s room and found him fully conscious and beaming that energetic/ magnetic smile. Despite being a bit 'hoarse,' Aaron was ecstatic to be rid of his intubation tube and able to communicate. His fever, heart rate and blood pressure are all trending back to normal. His doctors are weaning him off all drip antibiotics, sedation and pain medication."  

"Aaron is still groggy from the weeks of heavy sedation and pain meds, but is trying to piece together those missing frames. Join us in our excitement for Aaron and the significant steps he’s made in the past 24hrs…but acknowledge that his journey ahead is lengthy. Please keep the hope & healing energy flowing!"

Aaron Loy is a competitor with a lion's heart and a champion's spirit. He proved it in the CIF playoffs as a player at La Costa Canyon, showed flashes of it again during fall ball at UCSB, and continues to demonstrate those recognizable attributes every day in the halls of the UC San Diego Medical Center.

You can continue to follow Aaron's progress by visiting his Caring Bridge website and reading his parents' journal entries.

HelpHopeLive - In Honor of Aaron Loy at the Adrenaline Challenge in Del Mar, CA
Please be sure to stop by the HelpHopeLive booth in honor of Aaron Loy at the Adrenaline Challenge - January 3, 4 & 5 - Del Mar Polo Grounds - Del Mar, CA.

If you would like to help in Aaron's recovery efforts, there have been two funds recently established in his name:

HelpHopeLive - In Honor of Aaron Loy
(Tax Deductible)

Aaron Loy Recovery Fund
(Gift / Non Tax Deductible)
Pacific Premier Bank
781 Garden View Court, Suite 100
Encinitas, CA 92024

More About Meningitis

Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges - the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, but the dangerous form is caused by the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria. Bacterial meningitis infections spread quietly because most people who carry Neisseria meningiditis in their throats don’t get sick. According to the CDC, about 10 percent of the population are carriers.

Meningitis is spread by close contact, particularly where people share rooms or are in very close contact for an extended period. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to the disease because they spend a lot of time together in close quarters such as dorms, coffee shops and bars, with plenty of potential to swap germs.

There are vaccines against four of the most common strains in the United States, known as A, C, Y and W. The strain Aaron, and several students at Princeton University recently contracted is the B strain.

While many states and Universities require students living in college housing to be vaccinated against several strains of meningitis, that vaccine typically used in the U.S. does not protect against the B strain that accounts for about 160 cases nationwide annually.

The stakes are high. About 10 to 15 percent of the cases of meningococcal disease prove fatal. And 15 percent of those who survive have long-term disabilities, such as loss of limbs, deafness, nervous system problems, or brain damage, according to the CDC.

To read more about the strain B meningitis outbreak at Princeton University, click here.

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