Reports: Paterno ‘gravely ill’; family summoned to State College

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Diagnosed with what was described as a treatable form of lung cancer shortly after his firing Nov. 9, the reports since have indicated former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno had been making progress in his battle against the disease.

Sadly, reports coming out of State College Saturday paint a different and decidedly grim picture of the 85-year-old’s health.

BlueWhiteIllustrated.com, the Rivals.com website dedicated to cover Penn State sports, reports that Paterno is in bad shape and extended family has been called to State College due to his declining health.  OnwardState.com tweeted earlier in the evening Paterno was taken off a respirator this morning.

According to a tweet from The Citizen’s Voice of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Paterno is “gravely ill” and “near death” also confirming BWI‘s report that family and close friends have been summoned to the hospital to say their final goodbyes.  A subsequent report on the website, citing a staff member at the hospital in which the coach is being treated, states that Paterno’s wife Sue called in family and friends after her husband said he wanted to say a final goodbye.

Shortly after the initial rumors surfaced, a family spokesperson issued a statement that only confirmed Paterno is in serious condition.

“Over the last few days Joe Paterno has experienced further health complications,” spokesman Dan McGinn said in a brief statement Saturday to the Associated Press. “His doctors have now characterized his status as serious.

“His family will have no comment on the situation and asks that their privacy be respected during this difficult time.”

Paterno gave his first interview since his dismissal on Jan. 12-13, speaking to the Washington Post on the Jerry Sandusky scandal as well as touching briefly on his health.  On the same day the interview was completed, Paterno was admitted to the hospital due to complications from his chemo treatment.

Jay Paterno, the coach’s son and former PSU quarterbacks coach, abruptly cancelled a scheduled appearance this evening roughly an hour before it was expected to start.  The younger Paterno reportedly cited an ill wife as the reason for the cancellation.

Ron Musselman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that State College police have put barricades around the area where Paterno’s home is located.  While the police are barring vehicle traffic from the area — OnwardState.com has posted a picture on its Twitter page — pedestrians are still able to access Paterno’s neighborhood.

Additionally, students are beginning to gather around the Paterno statue located just outside of Beaver Stadium.  Sara Ganim of the Patriot-News posted a picture to her Twitter account of the scene around the statue earlier this evening, which can be seen at the right. The crowd around the statue is reportedly growing by the minute as students await word on on update to Paterno’s condition.

WVU RB Donaldson in concussion protocol, out for Baylor game

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) West Virginia running back CJ Donaldson is in concussion protocol and will miss next week’s home game with Baylor after he was injured in a loss to Texas, coach Neal Brown said Tuesday.

Donaldson remained on the ground after he was tackled on a short gain in the third quarter of Saturday’s 38-20 loss to the Longhorns. His helmet and shoulder pads were removed and he was carted off the field on a stretcher. After the game he was cleared to travel home with the team.

“He’s recovering,” Brown said. “There is a strict return-to-play (policy) that we have to follow here and I’m zero involved in it. All I do is ask the question. They don’t even start the return-to-play until they’re symptom free.”

Donaldson, a 240-pound freshman, leads the Mountaineers with 389 rushing yards and six touchdowns, with an average of 6.9 yards per carry.

West Virginia (2-3, 0-2 Big 12 Conference) is idle this week and hosts Baylor (3-2, 1-1) next Thursday, Oct. 13.

Taulia Tagovailoa says he visited brother, Tua, over weekend

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was able to visit his brother, Tua, last weekend after the Terrapins’ game against Michigan State, he said Tuesday in his first comments to reporters since Tua left the Miami Dolphins’ game against Cincinnati last Thursday with a frightening head injury.

Taulia played in Maryland’s win over Michigan State on Saturday but was not made available to the media afterward. He said Tuesday he was able to go to Florida and spend some time with his brother, who suffered a concussion four days after taking a hit in another game but was cleared to return.

“He’s doing good, everything’s fine,” he said. “My biggest thing was just seeing him and spending as much time as I can with him. I came back Sunday night.”

Tagovailoa said he appreciates the support for his brother.

“My brother’s my heart. He’s someone I look up to, someone I talk to every day,” he said. “It was just a hard scene for me to see that.”

Tagovailoa said he was in constant contact with his mother about his brother’s situation, and he was finally able to talk to Tua on Friday night.

“I really just wanted to go there and just spend time with my family, hug them and stuff like that,” Taulia Tagovailoa said. “But he told me he’s a big fan of us, and he’d rather watch me play on Saturday. … After that phone call, I was happy and getting back to my normal routine.”

Tagovailoa indicated that his brother’s injury didn’t make him too nervous about his own health when he took the field again.

“I guess when that happens to someone like my brother, or when anything happens to one of my family members, I don’t really think of how it will be able to affect me,” he said. “I just think of: `Is he OK? How’s he doing?”‘

Although it was a short visit to Florida, he said he and Tua made the most of their chance to be together.

“I just wanted to make sure he’s healthy and stuff, which he is,” Taulia Tagovailoa said.