As prep player fights for life, doctor warns of dangers of football

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A high school football star remains in a coma and fights for his life as his friends and family struggle to make sense of what happened on the field.

17-year-old Drew Williams, wide receiver and defensive back for Lane Tech, collapsed on the sidelines during a game last Friday night

Neil Hernandez, Lane Tech class of 1988, was at the game against Dunbar High School when Williams went down.

“We saw coaches looked frantic,” he says.  “It didn’t look like a normal thing.”

It wasn’t a normal or typical game day injury. Williams suffered a subdural hematoma, a serious brain injury with a blood clot. Far more serious than any concussion, says Dr. Julian Bailes from NorthShore University Health System. Dr Bailes is a neurosurgeon there and an expert on football head injuries.

Bailes maintains football itself is probably safer today than it was years ago.

Dr. Bailes says there is roughly  a 50% survival rate when it comes to subdural hematomas. Concussions are far more common. But neither are a reason, this father and doctor says, to keep kids away from the sport. He says parents need to weigh the pros versus the cons.

Meanwhile, the caringbridge website provides health updates on Drew. It also provides a place for people who wish to donate money to help the family. In just two days donations near $15,000.

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  • Dick Beninya

    Why Do the headline say “doctor warns of danger” but the doctor doesn’t warn of the danger. The doctor actually minimizes the danger of the head injuries

    Reading his comments the headline should read “doctor says no real problem seen with football head injuries, use your own judgement”

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