DE Quinn, the state's No. 3 prospect, recovering after tumor discovered

The Fort Dorchester High School community cheered for its star player Robert Quinn during Friday night's football game against rival Summerville. The 6-6, 250-pound defensive end recorded six tackles, including 1 1/2 for a loss, in a hard-fought 35-21 loss to the Green Wave.

On Monday, the Fort Dorchester community prayed for Quinn, who was in intensive care after undergoing surgery at MUSC after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The tumor caused a blockage to the spinal cavity, causing a buildup of fluids that resulted in swelling of the brain. Doctors inserted a tube to relieve the buildup of fluids and took a biopsy of the growth. Doctors should know within two or three days if the tumor is malignant or benign.

"As far as his career at the next level, we don't know," Fort Dorchester coach Steve LaPrad said. "We have to see how the biopsy turns out."

Quinn passed out in the bathroom at his house Sunday morning and his parents rushed him to the emergency room. From there he was admitted to MUSC, and a CT scan that revealed the tumor. Doctors told Quinn on Sunday night that his athletic career was probably over.

"They weren't sure how much pressure they could relieve and didn't know what was really going on," LaPrad said.

But doctors were encouraged after Monday's surgery.

"We got some positive news," LaPrad said. "He did have a small tumor in his brain. He did have fluid, swelling on the brain. Obviously I'm not a doctor, but the positive news for us is he's going to have a tube in there for a couple days, and they think they opened up the problem area there that was creating the pressure. It's draining real well now."

Quinn was the No. 3 prospect in the state at the beginning of the 2007 season, and Scout listed him as the No. 98 prospect in the country back in April after he recorded 89 tackles and 11 sacks his junior year. He was being recruited from coast to coast until he narrowed his list to North Carolina, Auburn, Alabama, Rutgers and Florida State.

But something seemed wrong with

Quinn from just about Day 1 of the 2007 season. He was having trouble with his balance, and the usually aggressive Quinn would let runners run right past him without lifting an arm. He became forgetful, and LaPrad would often see Quinn turn around to ask a teammate a question about the defensive formation.

"This new defense is hard," Quinn told teammates. "I'm confused. I have to think too much."

LaPrad called Quinn to his office not once, but twice this season because of his performance.

"What is going on? I had two meetings with him in here, in this office" LaPrad said during a hastily called press conference. "As a coach, I thought about everything, from him not wanting to get hurt and risking his college career. 'Robert, what's going on?' Of course, he didn't answer. We had no clue of what was wrong. Nothing ever added up."

Four weeks ago, he collapsed as he walked down the hallway of the high school. LaPrad took him to the doctor, and tests came back normal. But something was wrong with the athletic Quinn. He now seemed lethargic and clumsy. LaPrad used star defensive end Carlos Dunlap to return kickoffs against Summerville last year, and planned to use Quinn in the same role Friday night.

"But he couldn't even catch the football," LaPrad said. "Now, it all makes sense. We just didn't know and he didn't say anything."

LaPrad said he doesn't recall Quinn suffering a concussion, adding doctors told him, "It could have been something he had at birth. Then again, it could have been something that could have come from skate boarding, football or wrestling. There's no way to say when it started."

Quinn was picked to play in the Shrine Bowl in December, and the All-American Bowl in January. He also is a two-time state heavyweight wrestling champion. He was expected to sign a college scholarship. But now, everything is on hold. "There's a lot of things, I'm sure, that are going through Robert's head," LaPrad said. "We just hope things work out and he's able to do some things. We're going to have to see what the doctors say. It's in their hands."