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Season over for Billerica's QB

LaSpada diagnosed with heart ailment

A CAT scan revealed a hole in Nick LaSpada’s heart. The QB had been suffering from fatigue. A CAT scan revealed a hole in Nick LaSpada’s heart. The QB had been suffering from fatigue. (Jon Chase for the Globe)
By Bob Holmes
Globe Staff / November 9, 2011

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Midway through Billerica’s crucial Merrimack Valley Conference football game Friday against Andover, the Indians had to call a timeout to let their exhausted quarterback Nick LaSpada catch his breath.

Now they understand why.

LaSpada was diagnosed with a hole in his heart, along with a blood clot in his lungs, and he won’t have any physical activity for at least six months, coach Peter Flynn said yesterday.

LaSpada had a CAT scan before Friday’s game because of the constant fatigue he was experiencing, both in games and at practice. The results didn’t come back until after the game, a 44-28 loss in which he threw three touchdown passes. Once the results were known, he was taken to Winchester Hospital Saturday evening and remains there today.

“He’s one of the best-conditioned athletes we’ve ever had at Billerica,’’ said Flynn, “but we noticed and the kids noticed, his endurance was down big-time. He’s such a wonderful young man, it just breaks your heart.’’

Flynn called a team meeting Monday to explain LaSpada’s condition.

“They were shocked,’’ said Flynn. “But the kids are rallying around him. He’s the face of Billerica football.’’

Flynn said LaSpada’s teammates have been visiting him after practice, and Flynn visits in the morning.

“He’s going with the flow right now,’’ said the coach.

LaSpada was having a great season. The Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year as a sophomore, LaSpada was tied for sixth in scoring in Division 1 with 11 touchdowns. He also had passed for 13 touchdowns, giving him a career total of 71, ninth-best in state history.

LaSpada had hoped to attend Harvard and play defensive back. Flynn said that with a return to good health, a year of prep school could be an option for LaSpada.

Billerica is 7-2 heading into Friday’s game at Central Catholic. Flynn said sophomore Jordan Bolarinho will get the start at quarterback.

Bob Holmes can be reached at rholmes@globe.com.