Bullet fragment removed

Sam Ashaolu is still recovering from gunshot wounds in a Pittsburgh hospital. (Toronto Sun/Fred...

Sam Ashaolu is still recovering from gunshot wounds in a Pittsburgh hospital. (Toronto Sun/Fred Thornhill)

JASON PAUL -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:31 AM ET

Sam Ashaolu's family remained optimistic after the former Toronto high school basketball star had a bullet fragment removed from the back of his head yesterday.

The junior forward, one of five Duquesne University players shot on campus last week, has one fragment remaining plus another bullet behind the left ear in his neck.

"Today he was kind of tired because he's developed a fever," said brother John Ashaolu last night after spending the day at Mercy Hospital. "He was put in a chair for two hours, but it took a lot of energy when he was put back in bed.

"The doctors are waiting day to day to see how he's responding and see what the next step is. We're optimistic and he has responded to friends well."

Three of Ashoalu's friends from their playing days in high school -- Ashanti Burke (Nelson A. Boylen), Brian Hamilton (Runnymede) and Jason Campbell (York Memorial) -- visited Ashaolu on the weekend and brought him a T-shirt with his picture on it and the words, "Get well, Slim."

Another longtime basketball friend, Tristan Martin, whom Ashaolu was trying to help transfer to Duquesne, brought a basketball that was signed by buddies in Toronto.

"When Sam was given the ball, he reached out with both hands, grabbed the ball and kissed it," John Ashaolu said. The family has set up a website (www.sam-ashaolu.com) to generate support and financial assistance for his recovery.

"There's also a message board to leave get-well notes, which we're going to read to Sam," John Ashaolu said.

The bullet fragment that remains poses a problem -- if it shifts into vital areas of the brain, it could cause a dramatic change in Ashaolu's condition.

He has stopped receiving oxygen, several days after doctors removed his ventilator. He's in serious condition.

A fund has been set up in Ashaolu's name at the National Bank of Canada, 58 Quarry Edge Dr., in Brampton. Account No. 04241-00; Transit No. 10481; Institution No. 006.


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