CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — On Friday, Loney Diaz was playing in a game for the Corpus Christi WINGS. One of his coaches, Vicente Hernandez, noticed he was getting tired, and took him out of the game.
“In the first quarter, I saw he was gassed, so I took him out, talked to him a little bit, told him to tell me when he was ready, he went back in, and I saw he was even more gassed,” Hernandez said.
Diaz started cramping, and it turned into something worse.
“He laid down and he started convulsing, that’s when they finally called the ambulance,” said Cameron Timmerman, a friend of Diaz who was at the game.
“I was worried and scared the rest of the game, we didn’t know what was going to happen,” Hernandez said.
Diaz was brought to the hospital, where he later died.
“My dad told me, and I freaked out, and that’s when I called [another friend]. I told her I was heading to her house, because I needed to tell her something, and we called [a third friend], to tell her,” Timmerman said.
The two friends Timmerman spoke to were Dymond Dominguez and Destiny Perez. Just a few days later, the two remember Diaz for his kindness.
“He was so pure, his heart was so kind,” Dominguez said. “He was a very motivated person, he inspired everyone he got in touch with,” Perez added. “Whoever was in his life, he made a big impact.”
In addition to football, Diaz also enjoyed playing tennis, baking and boxing.
“He was an excellent kid, he was always striving to be excellent, he was exceeding my expectations, and he was pushing to exceed his expectations,” Hernandez said.
Diaz was just weeks away from his 18th birthday. He had just graduated from the fire academy at Del Mar College and was set to graduate from the Harold T. Branch Academy in the spring. He had plans to join the Air Force, and eventually work for CCFD.
“Meeting him, and seeing the way he was structured as a 17-year-old, it impacted my life,” Hernandez said. “He was an excellent kid.”
His friends said they will remember him for his smile, his laugh, and his personality. He loved Spiderman, and they called him their Spiderman.
“Loney was just somebody who had a heart of gold, and he was himself around everybody, no matter who you were,” Timmerman said, “He’d give a stranger the shirt off his back, because that’s the kind of person he was.”
Hernandez said the WINGS will retire Diaz’s #56 jersey. It will happen at their game Saturday, if the game is played.