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Tabor player remains critical, undergoes surgery

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Sep. 21, 2012, at 7:28 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, at 12:34 p.m.

The family of Tabor College football player Brandon Brown spoke publicly for the first time Friday, almost a week after Brown was found beaten and unconscious on a McPherson street.

Brown has been in critical condition and on life support since being airlifted to Via Christi on St. Francis. His condition worsened Friday and doctors were performing emergency surgery to try and stabilize him.

Family members declined to go into specifics on Brown’s injuries other than to say he had massive internal injuries. They indicated the most damage had been done to Brown’s head.

“There’s such a mix of anger and sadness … we’ve never experienced anything like this,” said Craig Brown, Brandon’s father. “If you’re out there and you know something, please help our son.”

No arrests had been made as of Friday evening, and McPherson police chief Robert McClarty said the investigation was continuing.

“Anytime these type of situations happen in a community like McPherson, it’s regretful,” McClarty said. “We’re trying to deal with this as aggressively as we can.”

Brown, 6-foot-3 and 280 pounds, is from Sacramento, Calif., and transferred to Tabor from Santa Ana (Calif.) College. Brown, who was redshirting this season, is 26 and has a 3-year-old son and 7-month-old daughter.

Eight family members flew from California early in the week after receiving a call Sunday morning that Brown had hours to live.

“We are concerned there haven’t been any arrests made yet,” said Ronda Hill-Holland, Brown’s mother.

According to family members, Brown was with friends on Saturday evening, but it’s unclear how he ended up in McPherson, almost 30 miles from the Tabor campus in Hillsboro.

“If you met him, you’ll love him,” Craig Brown said. “He’s not somebody that goes out looking for trouble, but he’ll defend himself if he has to.”

Brown’s teammate, Ilai Eteaki, 21, was arrested on the 100 block of North Carrie in McPherson on suspicion of battery of a law enforcement officer around the same time. McClarty called Eteaki’s arrest an unrelated incident.

“We don’t want this to be just another kid who gets beaten,” said Gretchen Garner-Easter, Brown’s aunt. “We just can’t fathom how somebody just ends up in the street like that. The police haven’t given us a lot of information other than that he went out with friends and something, at some point, went dreadfully wrong.”

A relief fund for Brown has been established with Emprise Bank in Hillsboro. Donations can be sent to Emprise Bank care of the Brandon Brown Relief Fund or call 620-947-3141.

Reach Tony Adame at tadame@wichitaeagle.com or 316-268-6284.

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