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Spinal Injury Is Jolting

October 31, 2000|BILL SHAIKIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The replay would seem to jar just about any football player, particularly one with a job description that emphasizes hard hitting: Washington safety Curtis Williams collides with Stanford running back Kerry Carter, helmet against helmet, and Williams ends up in intensive care with an injured spinal cord.

Washington Coach Rick Neuheisel visited Williams in the hospital Sunday, one day after the collision, and reported Williams could respond only by blinking and could not speak. The prognosis is uncertain.

"It's sad. Hopefully he recovers," UCLA safety Marques Anderson said. "But it was a freak accident."

Anderson, perhaps the most renowned hitter on the defense, said he understands the risks of the sport but said he would lose his edge if he allowed thoughts of a similarly devastating injury to creep into his mind.

"I'm going to hope and pray that doesn't happen to me," he said. "I know hitting that hard increases the degree of danger. But that's what I do, and I'll keep doing it."

Notes

Coach Bob Toledo said he would allow defensive end Kenyon Coleman to play in the final one or two games this season if Coleman insists but would recommend against it. Coleman has not been able to resume running in the six weeks since he underwent knee surgery. Coleman, a senior and top NFL prospect, has said he would opt for a medical redshirt and return to UCLA next season if he cannot play again this season. "He's lost some strength and size [since the injury]," Toledo said. "Another year would help him tremendously." . . . Backup quarterback Ryan McCann said he would return to practice today after doctors told him he could play with the partially torn labrum in his left shoulder. . . . Defensive back Jason Bell and receiver Jon Dubravac each suffered concussions Saturday and did not practice Monday. Also sitting out were receiver Freddie Mitchell (back) and linebacker Robert Thomas and defensive linemen Anthony Fletcher and Rusty Williams, all of whom have injured ankles. Defensive lineman Sean Phillips, who has missed the past two games with an ankle injury, might return this week. . . . The Bruins got verbal commitments from Ventura High running back Tyler Ebell and Mesa (Ariz.) High receiver Junior Taylor .

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