This has not been a good start for the Gunn High boys' water polo team and new head coach Anne-Marie Napolitano.
In addition to a 0-9 season start -- including a 9-6 loss at Los Gatos on Wednesday to open the SCVAL De Anza Division season -- two starting members of the team were injured in a car accident on the way to the 3 p.m. match.
One athlete suffered a broken femur while the other suffered what first was reported as a broken clavicle in addition to losing the tip of a toe. He was taken to Stanford Hospital after having trouble breathing.
"It's just an unfortunate incident," said Tom Jacoubowsky, Gunn's assistant principal. "There were no life-threatening injuries."
While students are allowed to drive themselves if they have written permission from a parent or guardian and are cleared by the school to do so, students cannot drive another student to athletic events.
"They broke a district policy," Jacoubowsky said. "She (Napolitano) didn't want either student to drive. ... From what I heard, Anne-Marie did everything right."
The accident occurred near highways 85 and 17. The driver reportedly missed the turnoff (to 17) and turned sharply in an attempt to get onto 17, winding up hitting a freeway divider.
According to Chris Horpel, Gunn's new athletic director, the car the two athletes were riding in was crumpled. It took rescue crews some time to extricate one of the boys from the car.
"I asked Anne-Marie if she wanted to cancel the game," Horpel said, "but she said she could handle it."
Following the match, Napolitano reportedly went to the hospital to visit the athlete who was taken there.
The accident was the second one involving Gunn athletes in just the past few days. Earlier, a member of the school's cheer squad suffered a sprained neck when she hit the gym floor during practice, after a spotter missed catching her.
As for the car accident, Horpel said he would make a point to further emphasize to his coaches and athletes the district's policy regarding athletes driving to athletic events.
"The health and welfare of the students in most important," Jacoubowsky said.