Pensacola News Journal
Published 2:36 PM EDT Oct 25, 2018
Nearly seven months after suffering cardiac arrest, spending six days on a life-support system, and battling against the condition each day, Pine Forest student athlete Jaylen Clausell is having a heart transplant at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.
The transplant began shortly after 6 a.m. and is estimated to be an eight-hour procedure.
“This team has been behind him all year,” Pine Forest football head coach Jason McDonald said. “Things have looked up for him since he’s been at Mayo Clinic. He’s a tough, strong kid. Of course he has a long way to go, but things are looking up.”
Clausell was medially cleared to lift weights in June, but weeks later his condition worsened and he was transported to Mayo Clinic where he has been since the summer.
Pine Forest's football team has adopted "Do it 4 Jay" as its motto this year and is one win away from a District 1-6A championship when facing Tate on Friday.
As a sophomore last season, Clausell was a star defensive lineman and finished with 10.5 sacks, 73 tackles, two pass deflections and one forced fumble.
He earned PNJ All-Area honors and offers from Central Florida and Auburn.
He averaged 10.0 points and 8.0 rebounds for the basketball team.
Brian Achatz can be reached at [email protected] or 850-435-8521.