Doctors initially thought the pain and trouble swallowing and breathing Mountain Pointe wide receiver BJ Washington was having was a delayed reaction from the flu or strep throat.
The problem for Washington started Friday, Jan. 3. He was given medication in hopes of thwarting off the sleepless nights and constant pain. But when those problems persisted, there was concern of something more serious affecting his airway.
“At first, my mom (Layna Washington) had thought it was something worse,” Washington said. “I wasn’t sure because something that blocks your airway is a serious matter. I was kind of concerned in that area but I just focused on what we needed to do to get rid of it. The pain was unreal.”
More tests revealed Washington had an abscess growing on his left tonsil. Surgery was the only option for removal.
Washington underwent a short procedure Tuesday to remove the abscess. Now two days removed from the near hour-long surgery, he’s ready to get back to work and prepare for his senior season at Mountain Pointe.
“I feel 100 times better,” Washington said. “After the surgery I felt more like myself.”
Washington was part of a Pride team that struggled all year and was met by adversity early in the season. The Pride finished 1-9, one of the worst records in program history. He finished with seven catches for 112 yards and a touchdown.
The tough year resulted in the departure of coach Rich Wellbrock, who stepped down after just two seasons leading the Mountain Pointe program.
Aaron Frana, Mountain Pointe’s athletic director, took steps toward reopening the door to the Pride’s dominant past by hiring former Marcos de Niza coach Eric Lauer.
Before taking over the Padres in 2017, Lauer was the top assistant under former Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan, who led the Pride to their only state title in 2013. Lauer also coached under the late Karl Kiefer, who started the Mountain Pointe program, and Phil Abbadessa, Kiefer’s successor.
“Coach Lauer is a real good guy,” said Washington, whose brother, Isaiah Anderson, played under Lauer. “I feel he can and he will put Mountain Pointe back in the spotlight. I feel like he has what it takes to do that.”
Washington and the rest of the Pride football program have begun workouts with Lauer in the school’s weight room. He said there is a different mindset surrounding each player as they work toward turning around the program and return to its winning ways.
“I’m ready to get back into it,” Washington said. “It’s my senior year, it’s time to make a big statement. I’ve never been so eager to get back on the field.”