Trans high school volleyball player in California gives female player a concussion during game, knocking her out for entire season

Trans player Aaron Lester poses with his mom on Instagram. "At what point does someone’s gender dysphoria cross the empathy boundary? In my case when my daughter was injured."

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Hannah Nightingale Washington DC
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A California father has come forward to reveal that his 17-year-old daughter suffered a serious concussion during a high school volleyball game in which the opposing team had a trans-identified male student competing alongside women, causing the longtime player to have to sit out for the rest of her senior year.

Luis, whose name was changed to protect his family, told Reduxx that his daughter, who had been playing the sport since a young age, had a ball spiked at her head by the transgender student during an October game at Half Moon Bay High School.

“My daughter has been involved in volleyball since she was in 4th grade,” Luis told the outlet. “She has always been a kid with her eye on the prize. When she first started asking about playing volleyball she began practicing in the backyard. For hours at a time, she’d hit the ball on the sloped roof. Eventually she was able to be a Team Captain at her school.”

Luis said he immediately felt something was off at the October game, noticing that one of the players on the opposing team seemed stronger than the girls.

“From a distance It seemed like a boy dressed in a girl’s volleyball uniform,” Luis says, adding that he quickly texted his wife in confusion. “I asked if she knew that there may be a boy on the [Half Moon Bay] team. She said yes.”

“I told my wife that this was not fair. I felt frustrated that, in an indirect way, I was now supporting someone’s gender confusion. To boot, they were now playing against my daughter and her teammates. I had heard about transgender in sports issues, bathroom gender identification politics, and trans groups reading to kids at school. Now it was directly hitting home.”

While chatting with another parent during the game, Luis said the game suddenly stopped. He turned to see his daughter being led out of the gym, holding her head.

“[The other parent] turned to me and said, ‘Did you see that? She was hit by that boy.’ I had missed the actual hit, but felt the weight of everyone staring at me, including the opposing team,” Luis said, adding that he left to check on his daughter.

Half Moon Bay officials did a medical assessment on his daughter, during which she said she had blurry vision and head pain. Despite the injury, she wanted to remain at the game and support her teammates, but sat out for the remainder of the match.

“After the game, a few parents voiced their displeasure with the incident. With all of the cancel culture crap, I was walking on eggshells, not wanting to add more fuel to this fire,” Luis said.

“I totally felt alone. Like this was a bad dream. My daughter knew how angry I was. The drive was telling as my daughter asked me not to make it a big deal. But to me, it was already a big deal,” he says.

A doctor confirmed that she suffered a concussion, and his daughter was unable to play for the remainder of the year, which was her senior year.

"She was playing for fun, and this was her final year doing it. She felt robbed. I felt deflated and powerless,” Luis said.

Luis was told that nothing could be done to prevent biological males from playing on female teams, despite scheduling a meeting with school administrators.

He worries about speaking out, fearing his daughter could be ostracized and family shamed.

"Don’t get me wrong, I have empathy for the boy. I don’t know what it feels like for someone to be born male and not identify with that. Life must be difficult,” Luis said. “But at what point does someone’s gender dysphoria cross the empathy boundary? In my case when my daughter was injured.”

Reduxx identified the male student as Aaron Lester, the child of social justice activist Lisa Phelan and musician John Lester.

The student’s parents said in a 2017 interview that their child began expressing interest in wearing feminine clothes at the age of 9, though it is unclear when Lester began identifying as female. In 2020, the student was reportedly referring to himself and his sibling as "brothers," but in 2021, his mother began posting about "supporting trans kids" on social media.

Lester issued around one third of total "kills" for his team, helping Half Moon Bay to their victory in the October match. Lester was seen jumping higher than the female players, and hitting the ball with more force.

This isn’t the first injury to occur at a female volleyball game as a result of a transgender athlete. In 2022, a Hiwassee Dam High School student in North Carolina was hit in the face with the ball, sent over the net by a Highlands High School student, a biological male.

The Hiwassee female student suffered severe head and neck injuries as a result of the incident, which has given the player long-term concussion symptoms, including problems with her vision.

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