SOUTH BEND, Ind. – A former linebacker has filed a lawsuit against Notre Dame, claiming the university concealed the results of a spinal scan from him and that he has potentially permanent nerve damage to his neck.
The Indianapolis Star reports that Douglas Randolph filed the complaint this month in St. Joseph Circuit Court, naming coach Brian Kelly among the defendants. Randolph says he shouldn’t have been allowed to continue playing during the 2015 season. The complaint says he was later diagnosed with spinal stenosis. It doesn’t specify damages being sought.
Paul Brown, a spokesman for Notre Dame, said in a statement Thursday that the university was “completely confident” that its athletics doctors and trainers provided proper medical care to the plantiff in this case.
“We are equally confident that the allegations made in this lawsuit are baseless,” Browne said
The suit says Randolph was hit during a practice drill and “suffered numbness.” The complaint says symptoms continued after every impact on the field.
The 24th-ranked Fighting Irish are preparing for a high-profile home game Saturday against No. 15 Georgia. It’s the second game of a pivotal season for Kelly after Notre Dame went 4-8 last year. The head coach spent the offseason overhauling his coaching staff.
Kelly has at times been criticized for making blunt public assessments of his players and throwing tantrums on the sideline that are often caught on television, but there have been no public accusations of player mistreatment.
Kelly said after practice on Thursday that he was surprised by the lawsuit.
“I know the kind of quality health care we provide. We’ve got outstanding doctors. That’s our mission here is to provide the very best health care to our student-athletes. And whatever’s in their best interest,” Kelly said.
How injuries are handled by football programs and coaching staffs, and how players are treated has become a more frequent topic in college football as the NCAA has put more emphasis on athlete welfare issues.
Illinois fired coach Tim Beckman in 2015 after a school investigation found he mishandled injured players and deterred players from reporting injuries. Indiana parted ways with coach Kevin Wilson last year after complaints of player mistreatment were investigated by the school.
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