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Injured Ex-Lineman Sues U. of Illinois for Negligence

Courtney Cameron

On Friday, former offensive lineman for the University of Illinois Anthony Durkin filed a lawsuit against the university, the former athletic director, and two former coaches for breach of contract and negligence resulting in lifelong injury. The suit claims that former head coach Tim Beckman and former tight ends coach Alex Golesh forced Durkin to continue play against doctor’s orders after he suffered a shoulder injury in 2013. Their mistreatment allegedly exacerbated the injury, resulting in the loss of Durkin’s scholarship. According to Yahoo! Sports, Durkin has filed for $250,000 in damages, as well as compensation for his accumulated medical expenses and the loss of past and future wages.

In September of 2013, doctors performed a Bankart Repair on Durkin for recurring dislocation of the shoulder. Durkin says he was meant to continue a regimen of rest and physical therapy for the shoulder through the spring of 2014, but was cleared by team doctors to resume play at the start of spring practice after the two former coaches asserted their influence over the matter. The shoulder was dislocated again in August of 2014, and Durkin was deemed unfit to play due to the severity of the injury by December of 2014.

At that point, Durkin states that he was told to sign a release that went against school policy under the threat of vague “repercussions,” which cleared the school of its obligation to continue his scholarship as well as from any responsibility for future medical costs, which included a second surgery on the shoulder. Following the second surgery, Durkin says he was told by doctors that the shoulder would likely never recover. He signed the release on December 7, 2014, and has only recently filed his suit, seeking reparations for the magnification of his injury due to the actions of the administration and for the physical and mental anguish caused by the loss of his scholarship, health and career.

University of Illinois vice chancellor for public affairs Robin Kaler told the Chicago Sun Times, that the school first heard about the suit late in the day on Friday. “It appears to involve circumstances that allegedly happened about two years ago. We will review the complaint thoroughly, but I want to make clear that the health and well-being of our student-athletes is our first and foremost priority,” he said.

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