VANCOUVER -- A Central California man arrested after a Halloween 2012 fight in Chico that left a Vancouver star athlete partly paralyzed has pleaded no contest to felony battery.
Tyler Burton, 22, who was on the Shasta College football team, was struck by what Butte County District Attorney Michael Ramsey described as a "sucker punch" thrown by Andres Rodriguez of Citrus Heights, Calif.
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Rodriguez, 21, faces a potential four-year sentence and Ramsey said he will ask the court for maximum punishment. He also will ask that Rodriguez provide financial aid to Burton for past and future medical expenses.
Burton was a star running back at Mountain View High School before playing for Shasta College.
Ramsey said two groups of people started arguing that night as they passed each other on a sidewalk. Rodriguez stepped beside Burton and threw the punch to his head. Burton fell to the sidewalk suffering two breaks to his skull and brain damage.
Burton returned home from a rehabilitation center last February, a coach teaching him how to walk again. Doctors have described his recovery from a long coma as "miraculous."