Westover's Ochie out of hospital, held from action

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

Westover High School star Onochie Ochie, who collapsed and lay motionless for several minutes during the Patriots' 61-58 loss against Monroe on Friday night, was released from Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital at 2 a.m. Saturday morning and all his medical tests so far have shown no problems, according to Patriots coach Dallis Smith.

Smith added the hospital still wants to do precautionary tests Monday, and there is no timetable for Ochie's return to playing.

"He's doing a lot better, he's at home," said Smith, whose team faced Randolph-Clay on Saturday night. "I was there at the hospital until about 1 a.m., and he was released an hour later."

Ochie, a 6-foot-6 Southeast Louisiana signee, took a hard arm across his chest early in Friday's game and collapsed, falling face-first onto the floor. Ochie lay unconscious on the floor for several minutes before being carried outside to the ambulance.

It took the air out of a high-energy game matching The Herald's top two teams, No. 1 Monroe and No. 2 Westover.

Dougherty County Director of Athletics, Johnny Seabrooks, told The Herald on Saturday that a medical condition did not cause Ochie's fall but that he had stumbled and tried to grab Monroe's Brandon Johnson to break his fall but missed and went head-first into the floor.

Smith, on Saturday, said his mind is still on Ochie.

"For any player, you don't want him to go through anything like that," Smith said. "It's my first time experiencing something like that as a coach (since taking over Westover in 2002) and you try to reassure your kids he will be OK, and that can be a hard job. The first thing on my mind is the well-being of my players."

The Patriots, without Ochie, were still in position to win, and that's what Smith hopes his team will take from Friday.

"I was proud of how the kids fought back and had a chance to win the game," Smith said. "That was a hard thing to do. We also didn't shoot well. Our best shooter (Malcolm Sapp) was off the mark Friday, but we still had that chance."