Chandler High football star Dion Jordan is lying in a Phoenix hospital bed. He has third-degree burns to his fingers, hands, arms, legs, ankles and toes.
The 17-year-old senior suffered the wounds while using a vacuum cleaner to siphon gas from a car Saturday at a friend’s house in the 1100 block of West Gary Court in Chandler.
Teammates say Jordan, who’s called “the giant” on the field because of his 6-foot-6-inch frame, is staying strong. They say he moved his fingers and feet and talked about returning to the field only hours after the accident.
Chandler High School football coach Jim Ewan said it could be three weeks before the standout receiver and defensive end leaves Maricopa Medical Center. It’s unclear how long his recovery will take.
On Monday, doctors let Jordan’s body stabilize so they could evaluate where he would need skin grafts to repair the burned flesh and when this procedure would need to take place, Ewan said.
“The hospital staff there thinks it’s just a miracle that he wasn’t burned worse,” Ewan said.
Members of the team with a 5-1 record said the injury to one of their top players has motivated them to make it to the postseason.
“We’re just trying to play and win every game so he can make it back and watch us in the playoffs,” said Marc Anthony, a 17-year-old senior.
Jordan is the fourth East Valley football player to be seriously injured or die while off the field in the last month.
On the morning of Sept. 21, Danny Pasanella, a 17-year-old standout for Valley Christian High in Chandler, did not wake up and was found dead in his Chandler home. Police are still waiting on autopsy and toxicology results.
Raegan Pride, a 16-year-old Dobson High junior, was shot and killed Sept. 21 outside a Mesa restaurant.
Jake Dunn, a star linebacker for Scottsdale Saguaro High School’s football team, suffered severe injuries after he fell and hit his head longboarding Sept. 30 in a Fountain Hills neighborhood.
Jordan remained in critical condition Monday at a hospital.
Following practice Saturday afternoon, Jordan was at the home of fellow football player Bryce Lamb, a 16-year-old junior, and was siphoning gas out of the car parked in the garage with a vacuum. Lamb said his older brother was home from college and his vehicle was low on gas.
Chandler fire officials said the blaze was caused by the vacuum when it sparked and ignited the gas.
Chandler fire spokesman Dan Couch cautioned there is no safe way to siphon gas and people should go to a mechanic if they need fuel removed from a vehicle.
Ewan described Jordan as a top athlete and a good kid who can’t be replaced. He has scholarship offers from colleges such as Stanford, Nebraska and University of Southern California.
The Chandler High School Football Boosters have set up the Dion Jordan Fund to help raise money for medical expenses. Contributions can be addressed to the CHS Football Boosters, Dion Jordan Fund and sent to 350 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler, AZ 85225.