QUADAAR WHITE, 15, with Upper Darby HS (PA), died on 8/31/10 after a week in a coma from a brain injury caused by his head colliding with another player’s knee at practice on 8/24. “When police and the paramedics arrived, he was not breathing, no pulse,” said Michael Chitwood, police superintendent of Upper Darby. White was revived and transported to Children’s Hospital in critical condition. “It’s just a tragic accident,” Chitwood said.–“Upper Darby boy, 15, dies from football injury”, Philly.com 9/1/10, Robert Moran, Inquirer Staff Writer.
PHILLIP WATKINS, 23, defensive back with De Anza College (CA), 2012, was shot and killed outside his fiancee’s home by police on 2/11/15. Described as distraught and depressed by his family, Watkins made a 911 call reporting a home invasion by a male armed with a knife. San Jose police spokeswoman Sgt. Heather Randol said Watkins stated he was locked in an upstairs bedroom with his children and requested help from police. Randol said Watkins was on the sidewalk in front of the home holding a knife with a 4-inch blade when 2 officers arrived, and ran at them in a threatening manner. Randol said Watkins refused the officers’ orders to stop and drop the knife, and continued to run toward them, prompting the shooting. Watkins was shot 9 times. The mother of his fiancée, Faye Buchanan, who also lives in the home and witnessed the shooting, described it as excessive, saying Watkins started “trotting” over to the officers when they fired. Buchanan’s daughter was also present. “We begged them to help him, not shoot him,” said Faye Buchanan, who questioned why the police didn’t try to use a stun gun, especially since she had called a suicide hotline earlier and was told by the operator police would be called in order to mobilize a suicide intervention. When asked if Watkins tried to bait the police into killing him, a phenomenon known as “suicide by cop,” Buchanan said she didn’t know. “I can’t speculate, but he wasn’t in his right mind when it took place.”—“San Jose cops kill man with knife”, SF Chronicle 2/13/15, Hamed Aleaziz & Vivian Ho. A picture within the article shows Watkins to be African American.
The following Northern California colleges and universities have dropped football: University of San Francisco (1952), Santa Clara (1993), Hayward State (1994–now Cal State East Bay), Pacific (1995), SF State (1995), Sonoma State (1996), St. Mary’s (2004), Menlo (2015).
TAYLOR DAVISON, 10, the only girl on her team in the Bartlett (IL) Raiders Athletic Association, died on 9/2/02 from a blow to the head that led to a blood clot on the right side of her brain. She collapsed as she walked off the field with her coach. The Cook County medical examiner’s office ruled that her death was caused by blunt trauma that led to a clot under the surface of her brain, saying that she had been hit during a full-contact practice earlier in the week. Taylor’s mother, Susan Davison, questioned the ruling, saying doctors had told her that her daughter had malformed blood vessels in her brain because she was a premature infant. Dr. John Grant, a neurosurgeon at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, said it would’ve taken a serious hit to cause the type of injury described in the medical examiner’s report. She played several positions, including nose tackle, on a team with members in the 90 pound range. Barry Brinn, president of the athletic association, defended his coaches and said, “There was no specific instance that you could pick out, no particular time when she was tackled that you could say, ‘That was the one.’” Peggy Lawson, an aunt who spoke for the family, said Taylor’s death was simply a tragic accident. “I wouldn’t discourage any of them from playing football.” Taylor was an avid horseback rider, good at math and science, and outgoing. She was protective of her twin brother, Tremor, who got her interested in football and is a player himself. “For some reason she loved being competitive with the boys,” said her father, Todd Davison. “She begged to be on the team. She wanted to practice every day, and she cried last year when the season was over.”–“Girl dies after collapsing at football practice”, USAtoday.com 9/4/02, Martha Irvine, AP. “Medical examiner: Death caused by blunt trauma”, ESPN.com 9/4/02, AP.
WEIGHTY ISSUES: 57 of the 256 players entering the NFL via the 2014 draft were listed at weights of at least 300 pounds. Number of NFL 300-pounders by year: 93 in 2013; 119 in 2012; 132 in 2011; 60 in 2010 and 2009. In about 2002 offensive lineman Aaron Gibson became the league’s first 400-pounder. Former offensive lineman Antoine Davis, 47, grew to almost 450 pounds in retirement. “Once you’re done, you’re done,” he said. “You’re out and you’re on your own.” William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry, defensive tackle and occasional goal-line fullback on the 1985 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears, passed 400 pounds in retirement and needed help to get out of bed in his late 40s. He lives in South Carolina and rarely appears in public.—“Ex-NFL linemen discover that weighing 300 pounds or more is no asset in life after football”, TheWashingtonPost.com 5/28/14, Kent Babb.
JAMIE DUKES, 50, center with Atlanta, Green Bay and Arizona, 1986-95, played with 4 players who died of weight-related matters: Reggie White, defensive end with Philadelphia, Green Bay and Carolina, 1985-2000, died of cardiac arrhythmia on 12/26/04 at 43; Tory Epps, defensive tackle with Atlanta, Chicago and New Orleans, 1990-95, died of a blood clot on 6/1/05 at 38; Bernard Dafney, offensive tackle with the Houston Oilers, Minnesota, Arizona, Pittsburgh, and the Baltimore Ravens, 1992-97, died of a heart attack on 1/11/06 at 37; Mel Agee, defensive end and tackle with Indianapolis and Atlanta, 1991-95, died of a heart attack on 6/15/08 at 39. Dukes played at 305 pounds but ballooned up to 385 in retirement before having Realize Band Surgery, which shrinks the stomach and reduces the feeling of hunger that leads to large intakes of food. He lost 100 pounds. In conjunction with an exercise program, the NFL Network personality has greatly improved his health and reduced his risk of heart- and weight-related problems.—NFL Network video.
JESSE FREITAS, 63, quarterback with San Diego, 1974-75, was found dead in the back of a car on 2/8/15 in Petaluma, CA. There was no indication of trauma or foul play. He ran into legal troubles after football, arrested for petty theft, trespassing, hit-and-run, and violating restraining orders. Freitas’ family claimed he had a mental illness and sometimes behaved erratically. He was committed last year to Atascadero State Hospital for psychiatric treatment. The family has agreed to have his brain examined for possible trauma (CTE) caused by football injuries.—“Ex-NFL QB Jesse Freitas found dead in car; foul play not suspected”, Sporting News 2/11/15, Travis Durkee, on msn.com. “Former Stanford QB found dead in car in Petaluma”, SF Chronicle 2/12/15, Evan Sernoffsky.
CHESTER McGLOCKTON, 42, defensive tackle with the LA/Oakland Raiders, Kansas City, Denver and NY Jets, 1992-2003, died of an enlarged heart on 11/30/11. He was listed at 335 pounds toward the end of his career and had LapBand surgery in 2007 to shed weight, and lost about 60 pounds. In a 2007 interview with the San Jose Mercury News, he said, “I still get stingers, and I haven’t played in five years. I shot my toe up so many times I can barely move it. The (LapBand) surgery helped tremendously, it makes me eat like I’m supposed to. But I still can’t go work out or run. It just hurts too much. What’s scary is I’m only 39. God forbid when I get to 50, 60. I’m just hoping I can walk.”—“Chester McGlockton, Former Raiders Star, Dies Of Apparent Heart Attack at 42”, HuffingtonPost.com 11/30/11.
“I would never let my sons play football.”–Dr. Colin Phipps of San Francisco, father of 3 sons, who worked as a chiropractor for Cal football.
MOSI TATUPU, 54, running back and special teamer with New England and the LA Rams, 1978-91, died of a heart attack in 2010 and was found to have CTE in October 2014, a day after his family learned he’d been elected to the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame. Tatupu left a family dinner at a restaurant after his first home game with New England and was found vomiting profusely in the parking lot by his wife, Linnea Garcia-Tatupu. Her father, a former boxer while in the marines, knew that Tatupu had suffered a concussion. The fan favorite from American Samoa underwent distinct behavior changes in his early 30s, growing aloof and forgetful, frequently misplacing things, and drinking heavily. His metamorphosis caused his 20-year marriage to unravel. In CTE the abnormal buildup of tau protein prevents the brain’s nerve cells from making normal connections with each other, eventually killing them. The buildup causes erratic behavior, memory loss, depression, and ultimately dementia. Tatupu’s son, Lofa, 32, played 6 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks and wants his 2 sons, one nearly 4 years old, and the other 6 months, to eventually follow in the family footsteps, which terrifies Linnea. “I’m not going to lie: I loved football up until I became involved with somebody who played the game. I am not going to recommend any sport where you can’t protect the very thing that is meant to keep you alive. If your brain doesn’t work, there is precious little else that will.”—“Years of battering took toll on 1980s Patriots star Mosi Tatupu”, BostonGlobe.com 1/27/15, Kay Lazar.