Injured Player Sues

July 26, 2018

Eric Williams, a former football player for McGill-Toolen (Ala.) High School is suing his alma mater, claiming they were responsible for his traumatic brain injury while he was playing as a defensive back.

According to Lagniappe Weekly, Wiliams said that on May 7, 2015, he “suffered several blows to the heads” during practice drills, and experienced “signs of a concussion,” including a headache and stronger emotional reactions. He said that Carl Jackson, who coaches linebackers, allowed him to continue practicing despite these symptoms.

The school's policy mandates that any student-athlete who shows symptoms of a concussion will be removed from competition for the rest of the day, and not be allowed to return until a medical doctor clears them to play. Despite this, Williams alleged that Jackson allowed him to return to practice where he suffered additional blows to the head and lost consciousness, leading to a traumatic brain injury that has resulted in “permanent physical, emotional, neurological and cognitive deficits.”

The suit accuses the school's athletic trainers, coaches, and administrators of negligence, as well as Encore Rehabilitation, which employs McGill's athletic trainer, Drew Garner.

“[He] was permitted to continue to participate in football practice without any restrictions,” the complaint claims. “At no point did any one of the defendants receive a written clearance for [Williams] to return to play from a licensed physician.”

Gwendolyn Byrd, Executive Director for Catholic Education for the archdiocese refused to comment, saying, “It is our policy not to discuss the personal issues of students nor to comment on legal proceedings.” 

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