Lawyers representing McGill-Toolen Catholic High School in Mobile, Ala., are denying a former football player's claim that negligence by the school was responsible for the brain injury he suffered during practice. Instead, it was Eric Williams' pre-existing medical condition that caused him to lose consciousness during a tackling drill in May 11, 2015.

Williams alleges that several McGill-Toolen football staff members were aware that he had suffered a head injury during practice four days earlier, but that they allowed him to return to practice too soon and without medical clearance from a doctor. According to AL.com, Williams' lawsuit names as defendants the Catholic Archdiocese of Mobile, McGill athletic director Bill Griffin, McGill principal Michelle Haas, current head football coach Earnest Hill, former head football coach Caleb Ross, current assistant coach Carl Jackson and athletic trainer Drew Garner.

Williams claims Jackson knew Williams was "emotional and suffering from headaches" after a May 7 drill, and that his condition was allowed to get worse. Jackson reportedly called the then-15-year-old Williams after practice, but did not encourage him to see a doctor. "From the time of the May 7, 2015 practice up to the May 11, 2015 practice the medical condition of Eric deteriorated to a point that he was required to seek emergency medical care," the suit states. "Eric was taken to the emergency room where a craniotomy was performed due to a subdural hematoma that was caused by the defendants' negligent, willful and/or wanton conduct."

In its response last week, McGill-Toolen countered that while Williams did receive emergency room care, it was not necessitated by "any act or omission by the defendants."

Williams is seeking a jury award for "compensatory and applicable punitive damages and any other relief that this Court deems just." McGill-Toolen is asking for the case to be dismissed.

 

Paul Steinbach is Senior Editor of Athletic Business.