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Indian Hills HS Athlete Remains In Hospital 2 Months After Pancreatic Soccer Game Injury

Antonio Iapicca, 15, was kneed so hard in the abdomen during an Indian Hills High School soccer game that he suffered a severed pancreas. He's been in the hospital since the Sept. 19 game.
Antonio Iapicca, 15, was kneed so hard in the abdomen during an Indian Hills High School soccer game that he suffered a severed pancreas. He's been in the hospital since the Sept. 19 game. Photo Credit: Toni Gargano-Iapicca

Tuesday marked exactly two months since the injury that changed everything for Indian Hills High School sophomore Antonio Iapicca.

Antonio, 15, was playing his heart out in a soccer game against Wayne Hills on Sept. 19, before he was kneed in the abdomen so hard he suffered a severed pancreas.

The teen was admitted to The Children's Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center, where he remains today.

It wasn't until earlier this month that Antonio's recovery turned a corner -- but that doesn't mean his peers, coaches, family and friends will stop fighting for him.

More than $10,000 had been raised for Antonio as of Tuesday on a GoFundMe, launched by his former coach Bobby Calderon.

"The Iapicca family, consisting of Antonio, two younger brothers, Angelo and Luca, and their parents, Gerardo and Toni, are extremely meaningful to our FLOW [Franklin Lakes, Oakland and Wyckoff] family, our soccer family and all that they meet," Calderon said on the campaign.

"They have impacted so many lives throughout the years with their positive attitudes, their selfless acts and dedication to always helping others; people who know them truly know they have given so much back to our community."

That's why, the coach and trainer said, he's giving back to them.

Nearly 10 liters of fluids were recently drained from Antonio's lungs and abdominal area, his mom, Toni Gargano-Iapicca said.

He felt a whole lot better and on Monday -- for the first time in nearly 10 weeks -- had his first meal.

"The biggest smile I've seen in 10 weeks."

Antonio and his mom, Toni Gargano-Iapicca, at the hospital.

Geraldo Iapicca and his son Antonio at the hospital.

But down 20 pounds, Antonio has more work to do.

Antonio is facing several endoscopies to drain the remaining fluid and, if all goes according to plan, his severed pancreas will be repaired using a stent.

"We have a four-week window to get this pancreas to mend naturally, said Gargano-Iapicca, "then surgeons can go and complete the secreted pancreas.

"If this plan doesn’t not hold still he will have hands on surgery to repair pancreas."

Antonio recovers at HUMC.

The teen has also been suffering from blood clots in his right leg. A filter was added to prevent them from reaching his lungs, which would cause an embolism.

Antonio has certainly struggled, however, he tries not to show it.

"Poor kid hasn’t complained much at all," his mom said, "but his spirits have been down."

"He also seems to be in better spirits when his friends and teammates pop in for a visit. Gives him a stage of some normalcy."

Click here to donate to Antonio Iapicca.

Antonio will be back on the field soon.

Friends keep Antonio's spirits up with a sign.

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