‘It’s devastating.’ 25-year-old former N.J. lacrosse player in coma battling coronavirus.
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Jack Allard

Jack Allard, seen here playing in a lacrosse game for Ridgewood High School in 2012, is currently battling the coronavirus. The 25-year-old was airlifted to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to enter a clinical trial after being placed in a medically induced coma and on a respirator in Edison.Aaron Houston | For The Star-Ledger

From every perspective, Jack Allard fulfilled the expectations of students who passed through the boys lacrosse program at Ridgewood High School under Mike Pounds.

Pounds coached Allard before he graduated in 2012. The now 25-year-old Allard continued to blossom once he left high school, going on to play lacrosse at Bates College in Maine and eventually starting a professional career working for Bank of America in New York City.

Pounds and the rest of the community were shocked when Allard tested positive for the coronavirus last week. Allard’s condition continued to deteriorate, forcing him to go into a medically induced coma and onto a respirator.

“It’s devastating,” Pounds told NJ Advance Media. “When we heard he was getting tested for it, you kind of say, ‘OK, well, he’ll be OK, just going to be quarantined and all that.’ But then when you hear he’s on the respirator, he’s in a medically induced coma, the trend is not heading in the right direction. You’re just devastated. So we’re just thankful for the little bit of the feedback. It’s tough. I can’t imagine what mom and dad are going through when they can’t be next to their child.”

Allard was airlifted from Hackensack Meridian Health JFK Medical Center in Edison to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania on Tuesday, where he joined a list for a clinical drug trial to treat the coronavirus.

Pounds has texted with Allard’s father since the diagnosis, offering support from himself and the Ridgewood community while Allard battles the respiratory virus.

The long-time Ridgewood coach still remembers Allard’s play and personality from his high school seasons. Never the biggest or fastest guy on the field, Allard didn’t shy away from the heart of the action. Pounds saw a person with the on- and off-field traits to have a successful life beyond high school.

“He just represents what we want our kids to become when they leave our program,” Pounds said. “These are kind of kids that we hope to see graduate from college and go on and do great things. So to see him going through this fight right now, it’s just not something we would we would ever want any of our boys or girls to have to experience.”

Social media has been flooded with outpouring of support for Allard, including former Ridgewood, Bates and professional lacrosse players.

In Ridgewood, Pounds and the community continue to wait and pray for a bit of good news.

“Everyone’s been rallying behind him, a week and change here now. He’s a fighter,” Pounds said. “He always has been. Back in his high school days, he’s always been one of those guys that wore his emotions on his sleeve and played extremely hard, was extremely competitive. And I’m sure he’s dealing with this the same way.”

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Chris Ryan may be reached at cryan@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRyan_NJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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