Former Trib Player of the Year Adam Muema bounces back after taking bat to the head at Covina party …

Just when things couldn’t be going any better for former Charter Oak High School running back Adam Muema, it all came crashing down.

Muema, while attending a party at a home in Covina last May, intervened in a fight taking place between the home’s owner and some unwanted guests. Next thing he knew, he was on his way to an emergency room after somebody hit him on the head with a baseball bat.

“I fell, but I didn’t black out or anything,” Muema said. “It felt like I got punched in the face. I was ready to fight, actually, but my friend looked at me right after and said, `We have to get you to the hospital.’ ”

Muema received stitches and was told by a doctor he needed to follow up with an optometrist because of injuries he suffered to his left eye. The 2009 Tribune Player of the Year’s problems were just beginning.

Muema’s vision in his left eye began to rapidly deteriorate. After being seen by an eye specialist, Muema was told he had a macular hole in the retina of his left eye for which surgery was required.

A month before graduation from Charter Oak and two months before the beginning of his college career at San Diego State, Muema’s football playing days suddenly were in doubt.

“I had to wait for my insurance to get approved and I finally had surgery on June 21,” Muema said. “For my eye to get better, I had to keep my head down.”

The procedure required fluid to be drained from his eye socket so a gas bubble could be placed behind his eye to apply pressure to the back of his retina. He was given special equipment to keep his head down, including a mirror that would allow to him reflect the picture from his television so he could watch TV.

“I actually had the doctor tell me I might not be able to play contact sports anymore,” Muema said. “I’ve been playing football since I was 4. It’s my love.”

At Charter Oak, Muema led the Chargers to two CIF Southeast Division championships and rushed for 1,938 yards and 23 touchdowns in his senior season.

The legend of Muema’s athletic abilities still elicits awe from his former coaches and former teammates. But without a proper vision there’s no way he could be expected to compete at the college level.

Muema quickly fell out of shape and lost 20 pounds and most of his endurance.

But with a chance to redshirt, he sprung into action after being given clearance by his doctors.

Muema joined the Aztecs after Week 3 of the season and was able to take contact in practice.

“I’ve still got it,” Muema said. “It was a blessing.”

Offseason workouts are going well for Muema, who said he’s now one of the strongest players on the team. Cracking the Aztecs’ backfield rotation won’t be easy, especially after the strong season turned in by freshman tailback Ronnie Hillman.

But no matter what happens in the coming four years, Muema already has learned a valuable life lesson about how fast things can unravel.

He also learned another when given a shot at revenge against those who chose to use a bat as a means to end a fist fight.

A week before leaving for San Diego last summer, Muema was at another party where his assailants also were attending. Despite possessing the type of frame that few people would want any part of in a street fight, Muema chose not to make the situation worse.

“I didn’t want any trouble,” Muema said. “Well, I did, but I didn’t want to do anything before I came down here. I knew it was them the whole time I was there. They looked over at me and I just left.

“I was angry. But you see, I’ve got a lot going and they probably have nothing better to do but tag or something.”

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  • JFR


    I believe you stated in an article last year that you would take Price over Adam as having a bigger impact at SDSU, are you still sticking with that? I’m obviously not quoting but I recall you writing something along those lines. Hell, they both better be more concerned about getting on the field with Hillman ahead of them.

  • JFR,

    The only time I’ve ever spoken about the two of them (Price and Muema) I said back when Chad Jeffries signed that I want to someday hear “Jeffries hands off to Price. He scores!”

    And the reason I said that was because at the time Muema was dealing with this situation and it was uncertain if he would play again and there was fear he’d even lose his scholly at SDSU. I even alluded to that when I said it, but the Muema peeps wanted it under wraps what happened.

    I was actually talking to Adam yesterday about Hillman. And I jokingly said “You better hope he goes to the NFL early” and Adam joked back “Knowing him, he probably will.” You’re right, as good as Chase and Adam are, Hillman is a very special talent and nobody’s taking his spot unless he gets hurt.

  • Aaron

    When I found out about Adam over the summer I was sad, he was a great player. When I found out he was cleared to play I was happy.

    Great piece here Aram, keep these coming and I won’t complain…

  • Tell me part of you wasn’t rooting for Adam to kick the living crap out of the cakes who brought a bat into a fist fight?

    I was writing with anger yesterday and what I got from Adam was one of the most candid interviews I’ve ever had and I was happy he said that he was still angry. I don’t blame him ONE BIT.

    But, the story was his, not mine, so it wasn’t for me to interject my opinion as much as I wanted to. But I do get to choose which quotes are used and that’s why I love the final quote of the story.

  • JFR


    I love the last sentence in the article about those kids future in tagging. He will use that anger to motivate himself and he is a beast in the weight room, hates to be out done.

  • question

    Why weren’t those kids arrested?

  • New York

    So the same guys were at another party rather than in prison? Aram, violence like this ruins communities and pushes good families out of town. Yes, that has football implications so I think you should dig into this.

  • what really happend.

    I was one of the first to step in after they took a swing at the owner of the house, it all happened so quick like 45-60 secs there were around 6 or 7 wannabee gang banger losers. They used a bat on Adam because we were beating that ass all 5 of us. After we wrestled the bat away they all took of running like the p#$$ies they are. true story.

  • Stay Away

    The lesson should be learned is that you have enough common sense to stay away from parties.

    Lets get real here. Nothing positive comes from parties where there’s drinking and other things that go on..

  • Bad Advic

    Aram might not know the culture you’re dealing with but it does Adam no favors to publicize, this openly, the criminals who hit him with a bat. In fact there is a reason he hasn’t gone to the police.

    It’s rather disgusting and completely irresponsible for you to suggest Adam should, however imaginary, continue the circle of violence that has no happy ending.

    As a parent I’m appalled.

  • TrinityLeague

    Wow, this story is mind blowing and mind boggling. I totally agree with bad advic’s comments. It seems as those Tolegian is promoting street fighting when he writes: “Despite possessing the type of frame that few people would want any part of in a street fight…” It is obvious that Tolegian is not a father and if he is I’m going to assume he’s not a good one (or that he has very little class). As a father the last thing I want my sons doing is getting into street fights. Also, parents need to do a better job at knowing where their children are, who they’re with, and of utmost importance, that there is adult supervision where ever they go.

    On a separate but related note, as I’ve stated in the past Andrew Campa and this Tolegian guy are tools – straight up; and, this article reinforces that fact.

    Finally, it sure seems that the “area schools” that WDN sports chooses to cover have a lot of incidences of violence involving back yard parties, baseball bats, and bricks. Every off season there are multiple incidences. So, keep up the good work WDN sports and never mind my complaints last year about you guys not covering our schools – it’s great not to be lumped with the schools you cover (no pun intended) and thank God you only cover us when we’re busy pounding your beloved LH Highlander football team (which we will do again in 2011).

  • -___-

    you guys are fools how do you even think price over muema any day? Muema had consistent years of damn near 2000 yards. Ronnie Hillman is a great player but,i went to one of the aztecs scrimmages an quotes from head coach Long along with a few others (coaches and players) Muema you ran your ass off keep it up.