UW’s Williams being evaluated by doctors for possible spinal cord injury and/or brain damage

  • JOHN SLEEPER / Herald writer
  • Saturday, October 28, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports


Herald writer

STANFORD – Bobby Hauck’s red eyes weren’t from joy at Washington’s 31-28 victory over Stanford Saturday.

Hauck is Husky strong safety Curtis Williams’ position coach, the coach closest to Williams. And moments after Washington’s victory, Hauck’s thoughts were in Stanford Hospital, where Williams lay with what apparently is a serious injury.

“I’m pretty shook up right now,” Hauck said. “I love the guy like he’s one of my family. I don’t care about football right now. I just want to see if he can get well.”

Doctors have ruled out any broken bones to Williams’ neck, but he is being evaluated for a possible spinal-cord injury and/or brain damage. Any possible longterm prognosis was not possible, team physician John O’Kane said, until further evaluation.

Williams, a senior from nearby Fresno, was under sedation Saturday night while doctors performed an MRI to evaluate neck and/or brain damage. After the MRI, Williams was transported into the hospital’s intensive care unit. O’Kane said the medications administered to Williams would wear off within 12 to 24 hours.

“Then we should have a better indication of how he’s doing,” O’Kane said.

Williams suffered the injury in the third quarter after ramming helmet-to-helmet into Stanford tailback Kerry Carter. Following contact, Williams collapsed onto his back and lay motionless for 17 minutes while medical personnel attended to him. As he was being treated, the entire Husky team knelt in prayer. Stanford Stadium was quiet.

Williams was taken off the field by stretcher to an ambulance and was transported to the hospital.

O’Kane said Williams was barely conscious by the time UW trainers rushed to him. He lost consciousness shortly afterward. O’Kane said Williams’ vital signs were stable as he was taken to the hospital.

Two of Williams’ brothers were with him at the hospital. Following the game, the team went to the hospital and later caught a flight back to Seattle.

Hauck and Washington head coach Rick Neuheisel stayed behind.

Williams’ teammates reacted with sadness and hope.

“He is family,” said nose tackle Larry Tripplett, his eyes brimming with tears. “He has the heart of a soldier. He comes out and he fights for this team. That’s my brother. I’d do anything for C.W.”

Neuheisel said any joy the Huskies got from their come-from-behind victory was lost because of concern for Williams.

“Our team is very, very much thinking of Curtis,” Neuheisel said. “If there is a tougher guy on this team, I don’t know him. If there is a guy who can get through this, it is Curtis Williams.”

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