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Newport's Cochran best in nation

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Sailors' senior has recovered from tough ending to football season and is tops in discus event.

March 15, 2012|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
(Kevin Chang / Daily…)

Ethan Cochran still cannot say when he suffered his first concussion in his senior year at Newport Harbor High.

He just doesn't remember.

The second concussion, he knows when it happened. That is because he knows what it ended, his high school football career.

"I caught an interception and I was running, and then I got tackled and my head slammed against the ground," said Cochran, a linebacker. "At that time, I thought I'd be out for like the next week and come back for the [Sunset League] finale against Edison.

"Then I went to the doctor. They did a CAT scan and all this [testing]. [The doctor] said I'd probably be out for the rest of the season. It was tough. I was pretty depressed. I felt like I couldn't do anything about it. I felt like I left my teammates down."

Cochran suffered more for the next month.

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Football was gone from his life, but not the bad headaches and troubles focusing. When the symptoms went away, Cochran began to look forward to competing in another sport, boys' track and field.

In the discus throw last season, Cochran finished as the best at the CIF State finals, becoming the Sailors' first state discus throw champion.

He has started this season as No. 1 in the country.

Four months after his last football game with the Sailors, Cochran said he feels normal. His head doesn't affect him at all.

He can focus now, and because of that, Cochran's disc has taken off. Every time he has stepped inside the ring, the disc travels further and further.

He opened the season with a 200-foot, 10-inch effort two weeks ago at the Eagles Invitational at Santa Margarita High. That was good for first place.

Last week at the Irvine Invitational, he heaved the disc 203-9, a personal best. The mark was a record in the 33-year event and the best in the nation so far.

Four days later, Cochran topped that effort by an inch. He wasn't even trying to set a new PR during the Battle of the Bay dual meet at rival Corona del Mar.

"The dual meets are always like, I'm not going to say boring, but I like the big meets," Cochran said. "Those are the ones you have competition. You want to do good because everybody is watching."

Cochran, a 6-foot-1, 225-pounder, tends to put on a show for spectators.

His biggest supporter, his mother Christine, might not be able to see Cochran at his next event. Cochran said his mother had back surgery on Thursday.

"I'm sure she'll be OK," said Cochran, who has been preparing for Saturday's Triton Invitational in San Clemente. "She's tough."

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