Injured UH player has ‘long journey ahead of him,’ Rolovich says
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Injured UH player has ‘long journey ahead of him,’ Rolovich says

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / FEB. 24

    UH football player Kalepo Naotala, right, appeared to hit his head while diving off the wall near the Kapahulu Groin on Saturday.

University of Hawaii football player Kalepo Naotala remains in “pretty serious” condition in a hospital after an accident in waters off Waikiki Beach, UH football coach Nick Rolovich told media this afternoon.

Rolovich addressed the team along with athletic director David Matlin before appearing in front of cameras at the Manoa lower campus.

Naotala, a freshman defensive lineman who’s been in the islands only six months, appeared to hit his head while diving off the wall near the Kapahulu Groin around 2:40 p.m. on Saturday. Some teammates were with him at the time of the accident.

Rolovich declined to go into specifics of Naotala’s injury, except to say, “We’ve seen improvement. We just know he’s got a long journey ahead of him.”

Several teammates remained in the hospital lobby overnight and some of the Newport News, Va., native’s family flew in, Rolovich said.

“We’re … going to come together and push forward because of it,” Rolovich said. “That’s what I think this team will do. Because Kalepo means a lot to this team.”

Naotala signed a letter of intent with the Rainbow Warriors on Feb. 3, 2016. He delayed enrolling at UH until last January to fully recover from knee surgery. Naotala participated in UH’s spring training and offseason conditioning program.

He was projected to compete for playing time on the defensive line this fall.

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