Former North Schuylkill star football player Gino Capone recently wrote a letter urging support for Spartans player Jaden Leiby.
Capone’s letter is addressed to the Penn State Football Letterman’s Club. Capone played for the Nittany Lions from 2000-2003.
Gino Capone Urges Penn State Alumni to Support Jaden Leiby
In the letter, Capone details the injury that abruptly ended Leiby’s season on the football field on Oct. 25. Leiby was making a tackle on a Pottsville player in their game to determine the Schuylkill League Division 1 championship.
On the third-quarter play, Leiby went to the ground and stayed there. Emergency personnel, teammates and coaches rushed to his side on the field before he was airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital near Allentown.
Capone says Leiby “shattered” his C7 vertebrae and further injured his spinal cord. He’s since been transferred to Magee Rehabilitation Center at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia. That’s where he’s getting the treatment necessary to recover from his tragic injuries.
The Adam Taliafero-Penn State Connection
Not only is Capone a Penn State alum and former North Schuylkill football player, Leiby’s struggle expects to strike a chord with Penn State football fans and especially former players.
The injury Leiby suffered is similar to the one that sidelined former PSU cornerback Adam Taliaferro back in 2000. The true freshman player also got injured making a tackle and was left paralyzed from the neck down.
Soon after Leiby’s injury, Taliaferro quickly responded to several requests to reach out to the North Schuylkill player.
Thanks Dustin! I’ve heard from many folks recently about Jayden. I hope 2 talk/meet him & his family soon. I know firsthand that the first days after an injury are a crazy time but whenever he and his family are ready & available I’m looking forward to being there 4 him #Praying https://t.co/1ePypqzycF
— Adam Taliaferro (@Tali43) October 27, 2019
Taliaferro attended Jefferson Hospital to get treatment and it took 8 months for him to learn to walk again. The next season, despite his playing career being over, Taliaferro led the Nittany Lions onto the field for one of their home games.
Today, Taliaferro is a member of the New Jersey General Assembly.
Capone’s Letter to PSU Football Letterman’s Club
Here’s a copy of the full letter Capone wrote to his fellow alums at Penn State, including details on how you can help, too:
Dear Penn State Football Letterman Community,
I am writing this letter to ask for your thoughts, prayers, and support. Jaden Leiby, a Standout QB at my High School Alma mater North Schuylkill, in Ashland, PA suffered a serious neck injury during a championship HS football game on Friday, October 25, 2019. His teammate and good friend at North Schuylkill, Tyler Elsdon will join the Penn State Football Family as part of James Franklin’s recruiting class of 2020. Jaden is a huge PSU football fan and regularly attends home games with his Uncle Bobby Burns in his Uncle’s PSU stadium suite.
Jaden sustained the injury during the 3rd quarter when he came up from his cornerback position to tackle the running back. The collision shattered his C7 vertebrae and injured his spinal cord. Jaden had surgery to repair his broken vertebrae at Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest. After hearing about the injury Adam Taliaferro so graciously reached out to Jaden’s Family. Adam has been very supportive to Jaden’s family as he too sustained a similar injury. Just like Adam, Jaden will attend Magee Rehabilitation Center at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, PA where miracles do happen! Adam plans to stay in constant contact with Jaden during the rehab.
Jaden is a great athlete and an even better person. Please take this time to keep Jaden in your thoughts and prayers. You can follow updates on Jaden’s progress and how the community and state of PA continue to support Jaden on Twitter at #Prayersfor6 and #JadenStrong.
If you have an interest in supporting Jaden, you can email email@example.com. They are selling wristbands ($2) and T-shirts ($10) with 100% of the profit going directly toward Jaden’s Trust. You can also support Jaden directly. Monetary donations can be made out to “Jaden G Leiby IRRV Trust” and mailed to:
Jaden G Leiby IRRV Trust
296 Malones Road
Ashland, PA 17921
Gino Capone ‘03
#PrayersFor6 – “Keep Saying Prayers – They Work”
If you can’t contribute financially to Leiby’s trust fund, don’t worry. There have been and continue to be countless fundraisers popping up around Schuylkill County and beyond for Leiby. Tens of thousands of dollars have been raised since the injury.
So, if you can’t contribute, there’s one thing you can do. In an interview soon after the injury, North Schuylkill head coach Wally Hall told The Times News, “Just keep saying prayers — they work. Please tell everyone to keep praying.”