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Former FHS football player assaulted


Last updated 11/10/2006 at Noon

Athletes are trained to be resilient when confronted with demanding physical challenges and former Fallbrook Warrior football player Adam Burke (Class of 2002) is proof that this is true. A star athlete who went on to play for Palomar College and University of San Diego (USD), Burke has been able to draw on this valuable inner strength to begin his recovery from a vicious attack in the early morning hours of November 1 on the Business Route of Interstate 8 at Pinkard Lane in the Lakeside area of San Diego.

“Four or five white male adults attacked Adam Burke,” reported Detective Sgt. Tom Poulin of the Santee Sheriff’s Department. Burke’s mother, Jan Burke, a local nurse, said her son was attacked with a golf club in the face and mouth, causing a broken jaw, crushed cheekbone and multiple fractures to his teeth.

“The biggest concern is his teeth,” Jan said. “We are looking at reconstructive surgery and reshaping of the mouth and jaw, implants and splinting that will take between eight months and a year.” Eating is a challenge for Adam right now.

“He is only able to have liquids and a very soft diet,” Jan said. “He has a high tolerance for pain because he is so athletic. He is not complaining. What I think about is if he were struck a couple of inches in any other direction, I probably would have lost him.”

“He was the designated driver that evening [Halloween] and he was taking his friends home,” Jan said. “He had just dropped the last kid off when a vehicle pulled up very close to him; he had to jump back to avoid being hit.” At that point Adam said he inquired as to what the driver and passengers of the car were doing and they began throwing things at him. Ultimately, another vehicle of young men joined in the altercation and Burke was surrounded by his attackers.

“A verbal argument appears to have escalated into a physical confrontation,” Sgt. Poulin said.

“Before he knew it, he was struck in the face,” his mother said. After sustaining significant injuries to his face and mouth, Burke was able to escape to an area nearby where he could see his attackers but they couldn’t see him. He witnessed his attackers vandalizing his 1994 Ford Ranger Pickup – smashing windows and stripping equipment off.

A witness placed a call to 9-1-1 and emergency workers responded to the scene.

“Burke was transported to Grossmont Hospital for treatment of his injuries,” Poulin said. Witnesses to the incident have provided valuable information and leads to the Sheriff’s Department, Poulin said.

“We are working on some very promising leads,” Poulin said. “When we catch the suspects we plan on charging them with assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm.”

Meanwhile, Adam’s recovery will be painful, lengthy, arduous and expensive.

“This is going to be a rather long, lengthy journey for Adam and his family with many, many procedures involved in a methodical fashion,” said Erika Feltham, a dental hygienist with Dr. Ed Stewart’s office. “Only very painful baby steps can be taken at this point in time. Bone takes a while to heal – weeks, months, even a year or so – not to mention his teeth and the areas of his face involved.” While the family does have insurance, it will only pay a certain percentage of the work that is required.

A special fund has been established to assist with Adam’s medical/dental bills.

Checks can be made out to: Janet L. Burke/FBO Adam M. Burke (account number 3132785144) and dropped off or mailed to: Washington Mutual Bank, 1091 S. Mission Road, Fallbrook, CA 92028.

Adam Burke played both baseball and football at Fallbrook High School. As a senior Burke earned first-team all-CIF honors as well as first-team Avocado League honors in football and was given second-team all-CIF and first-team Avocado League honors in baseball.

As a junior Burke earned second-team Avocado League accolades as a baseball outfielder. He was also a wide receiver and defensive back on the Fallbrook High School football team, which won the 2000 CIF Division I championship.

Burke closed out his high school career as a linebacker for the North in the 12th Annual Alex Spanos All-Star Football Classic played on July 12, 2002.

Burke played football at Palomar College for two years before transferring to USD. The Comets won the Mission Conference championship both years.

In 2004 Burke appeared in ten games for USD as a cornerback, making seven tackles and breaking up two passes. In 2005 he had 40 tackles, including one sack, for the Toreros, who won that year’s Pacific Football League championship. Burke earned honorable mention all-PFL honors for 2005.

Burke is now in his senior year at USD, where he is studying business. In addition to his studies, he works as a manager for Sunset Parking Corporation in San Diego. He has been unable to attend classes for the past week due to his injuries, but he is in touch with his professors, his mother said, and it is hoped that he won’t have to withdraw from the fall semester.

“He hopes to hang in there,” Jan Burke said. “He is extremely hardworking and is the typical all-American boy next door. He is very respectful and adults have always complemented him on that.”

Adam moved to Fallbrook 17 and a half years ago with his family and attended Live Oak School, St. Stephens and Potter Junior High before going into Fallbrook High School. He is one of Mike and Jan Burke’s five children.

Village News Sportswriter Joe Naiman contributed to this article.


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