In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Les Williams, a former defense end at Alabama in the 2000s, discussed his ongoing brain injury symptoms and how it is affecting his life. When he was at Alabama, like many young athletes at that time, he had never even heard the word “concussion,” that is until after he was done playing football. He most certainly sustained a concussion during his tenure at Alabama. He reflected on one specific play that he called ‘the hit.’ In ‘the hit’ Williams smashed his helmet into the side of a Southern Mississippi punter, Mark Haulman, and Haulman flew out of bounds. This play made the Top 10 plays on “SportsCenter.” Williams described that after the fact, that while the fans were cheering, he knew something was not right. “I knew I made a mistake the way that I hit him,” Williams said. “From that day forward, my life really hasn’t been the same.”
Williams now experiences ongoing memory loss, depression, constant headaches, and occasional fits of rage, all a result of brain injury sustained while playing football. This has made it difficult for him to hold down a job and has created great difficulties in his personal life. He eventually joined over 100 former NCAA football players in suing the NCAA for its failure to protect the players from the risks of long-term brain damage, which is a clear result of repeated hits to the head.
The cases are consolidated before one federal judge in Chicago. NCAA Motions to Dismiss are currently under review, and decisions are expected to come out in the next few weeks. If approved, cases such as Williams’ would be a huge step forward in these players obtaining just compensation for their injuries, and the adverse effects of traumatic brain injuries on their loved ones and on their lives.